Skip to main content

Full text of "A discourse on the worship of Priapus, and its connection with the mystic theology of the ancients"

See other formats

O T} 



l^GGfCAL W^^ 

Btfcourfe on tf)e morfl[)ip of ^riapus, 




(a new edition). 







(Reprinted iSg^.) 



Edition limited to Jive hundred numbered copies printed from type^ 
twenty-five of which are large paper ; three hundred for England^ two 
hundred for America. 




ICHARD PAYNE KNIGHT, oneofthemoft 
diftinguifhed patrons of art and learning in Eng- 
land during his time, a fcholar of great attainments, 
an eminent antiquarian, member of the Radical 
party in Parliament, and a writer of great 
ability, was born at Wormefley Grange, in Herefordfhire, 
in 1750. From an early age he devoted himfelf to the ftudy of 
ancient literature, antiquities, and mythology. A large portion 
of his inherited fortune was expended in the colledion of antiq- 
uities, efpecially, ancient coins, medals, and bronzes. His col- 
leftion, which was continued until his death in 1820, was be- 
queathed to the Britifh Mufeum, and accepted for that inftitution 
by a fpecial ad of Parliament. Its value was eftimated at /'50.000. 
Among his works are an Inquiry into the Principles of Tajie ; 
Analytical EJfay on the Greek Alphabet ; The Symbolical Language of 
Ancient Art ; and three poems; 'The Landfcape, the Progrefs of 
Civil Society, and The Romance of Alfred. 

Tht IVor/hip of Priapus v/a.s printed in 1786, for diftribution 
by the Dilettanti Society, with which body the author was 


adively identified. This fociety embraced in its memberfhip 
Tome of the moft diftinguifhed fcholars in England, among others 
the Duke of Norfolk, Sir Jofeph Banks, Sir William Hamilton, 
Sir George Beaumont, the Marquis of Abercorn, Lord Charle- 
mont. Lord Dundas, Horace Walpole, and men of equal prom- 

The bold utterances of Mr. Knight on a fubject which until 
that time had been entirely tabooed, or had been treated in a 
way to hide rather than to difcover the truth, jfhocked the fenfi- 
bilities of the higher clafTes of Englifh fociety, and the ministers 
and members of the various denominations of the Chriftian 
world. Rather than endure the ftorm of criticifm, aroufed by the 
publication, he fupprefTed during his lifetime all the copies of 
the book he could recall, confequently it became very fcarce, and 
continued fo for nearly a hundred years. 

In 1865 the work was reprinted, with an eflay added, carrying 
the inveftigation further, fhowing the prevalence during the mid- 
dle ages of beliefs and praftices fimilar tothofe defcribed in 
Knight's effay, only modified by the changed condition of fociety. 
The fupplementary eflay is now generally conceded to have been the 
work of the eminent author and antiquarian, Thomas Wright;^ 
aflifted by John Camden Hotten, the publifher of the 1865 
edition. In their work they had the benefit of the vaft additions 
made during this century to the literature of the fubjeil, and of 

' Perhaps no Englifhman of modern times, or of any time, has intelligently 
treated fo many different departments of literary refearch : Archaeology, Art, 
Bibliography, Chriftianity, Cuftoms, Heraldry, Literary Hiftory, Philology, 
Topography and Travels, are among the topics illuftrated by the learning, zeal and 
induftryofMr. Thomas Wright. — S. Austin Allibone. 


the difcoveries of objects of antiquity at Herculaneum and Pom- 
peii, alfo in France, Germany, Belgium, England, Ireland, and 
in fad in nearly every country in Europe, illuftrating the fubjed 
they were inveftigating. 

The numerous illuftrations are engraved from antique coins, 
medals, ftone carvings, etc., preferved in the Payne Knight col- 
ledion in the Britirti Mufeum, and from other objeds difcovered 
in England and on the continent, fince the firft efTay was written. 
Thefe are only to be found in mufeums and private collections 
fcattered over Europe, and are pradically inacceflibleto the ftudent; 
they are here engraved and fully defcribed. 

The edition of 1865 was of a limited number of copies, and 
was foon exhaufted. When a copy occafionally appears in the 
audion room, or in the hands of a bookfeller, it brings a large 
advance on the original high publifhed price. The prefent 
edition, an exad reproduction of that of 1865, but correding fome 
manifeft mifprints, is publifhed in the intereft of fcience and 
fcholarihip. At a time when fo many learned inveftigators are 
endeavoring to trace back religious beliefs and pradices to their 
origin, it would feem that this is a branch of the fubjed which 
{hould not be ignored. The hiftory of religions has been ftudied 
with more zeal and fuccefs during the nineteenth century, than 
in all the ages which preceded it, and this book has now an 
intereft fifty fold greater than when originally publifhed. 

OSiober, 1894. 


^^f]HE following pages are offered fimply as a con- 
tribution to fcience. The progrefs of human fociety 
(has, in different ages, prefented abundance of hor- 
_ rors and abundance of vices, which, in treating 

hiftory popularly, we are obliged to pafs over gently, and often 
to conceal ; but, neverthelefs, if we negled or fupprefs thefe fads 
altogether, we injure the truth of hiftory itfelf, almoft in the fame 
manner as we fhould injure a man's health by deflroying fome of 
the nerves or mufcles of his body. The fuperflitions which are 
treated in the two effays which form the prefent volume, formed 
a very important element in the working of the fecial frame in 
former ages, — in fad, during a very great part of the exiflence 
of man in this world, they have had much influence inwardly and 
outwardly on the charader and fpirit of fociety itfelf, and there- 
fore it is neceffary for the hiflorian to underftand them, and a 
part of the duties of the archaeologifl to invefligate them. The 
DifTertation by Richard Payne Knight is tolerably well known — 


at leaft by name — to bibliographers and to antiquaries, as a book 
of very confiderable learning, and at the fame time, as one which 
has become extremely rare, and which, therefore, can only be 
obtained occafionally at a very high price. It happened that, in 
a time when the violence of political feelings ran very high, the 
author, who was a member of the Houfe of Commons, belonged 
to the liberal party, and his book was fpitefully mifreprefented, 
with the defign of injuring his charader. We know the unjuft 
abufe which was lavifhed upon him by Mathias, in his now little- 
read fatire, the "Purfuits of Literature." Some of the Conti- 
nental archaeologifts had written on kindred fubjeds long before 
the time of Payne Knight. 

It was thought, therefore, that a new edition of this book, pro- 
duced in a manner to make it more acceflible to fcholars, would 
not be unacceptable. Payne Knight's defign was only to 
inveftigate the origin and meaning of a once extenfively popular 
worfhip. The hiftory of it is, indeed, a wide fubjed, and muft 
include all branches of the human race, in a majority of which it 
is in full force at the prefent day, and even in our own more 
highly civilized branch it has continued to exift to a far more 
recent period than we might be inclined to fuppofe. It is the 
objed; of the Efiay which has been written for the prefent 
volume — of which it forms more than one half — to inveftigate 
the exiftence of thefe superftitions among ourfelves, to trace 
them, in fadl, through the middle ages of Weftern Europe, and 
their influence on the hiftory of mediaeval and on the formation 
of modern fociety, and to place in the hands of hiftorical fcholars 



fuch of their monuments as we have been able to colled:. It is 
hoped that, thus compofed, the prefent volume will prove 
acceptable to the clafs of readers to whom it fpecially addreffes 

It muft not be fuppofed or expeded that this EfTay on the 
mediaeval part of the fubjed can be perfed. A large majority of 
the fads and monuments of mediaeval phallic worfhip have long 
perifhed, but many, hitherto unknown, remain ftill to be col- 
leded, and it may be hoped that the prefent EfTay will lead 
eventually to much more complete refearches as to the exiftence 
and influence of this worfhip in Weftern Europe during mediaeval 
times. Notes of fuch fuperjftitions are continually turning up 
unexpededly ; and we may mention as an example, that a copy 
of Payne Knight's treatife now before us contains a marginal 
note in pencil by a former pofleflx)r, Richard Turner, a colledor 
of curious books formerly refiding at Grantham in Lincolnfhire, 
in the following words: — "In 1850, I met with a Zingari, or 
Gypfy, who had an amulet beautifully carved in ivory, which fhe 
wore round her neck; fhe faid it was worth 30/., and fhe would 
not part with it on any account. She came from Florence. It 
was the Lingham and the Yoni united." This is curious as 
furnifhing apparent evidence of the relationfhip between the 
gipfies of Weftern Europe and India. 

London, September, 1865. 


REFACE to this Edition, 
Preface to the Edition of 1865, 
Contents ..... 
Lill of Plates, with references to explanatory text 

Account of the Remains of the Worship of Priapus 

Letter from Sir William Hamilton . 

Lettera da Ifernia, 1780 . 

On the Worfhip of Priapus, by R. Payne Knight 






13 — J13 

On the Worship of the Generative Powers during the Middle Ages of 
Western Europe : 

Abundant evidences of Phallic worfliip in the Roman colonies 
Aix, in Provence . 
Nimes, and its Roman Amphitheatre 
Xanten, in Hefle, and Antwerp 
Britain, and its Priapic remains 
The Teutonic Venus, Friga 
Fafcinum, and its magical influences 
Scotland, and its Phallic celebrations 
Phallic figures on public buildings 
Ireland, and its Shelah-na-Gig 
Reprefentation of the female organ exhibited in various countries 
Horfeflioes nailed to ilable-doors, a remain of the Shelah-na-Gig exhi 
bition ....... 

The ancient god Priapus becomes a faint in the Middle Ages . 


I 20 
I 22 
I 26 



Marriage offerings to Priapus 

Antwerp, and its patron faint Ters 

M. Forgeais' coUertion of phallic amulets . 

The *' Fig," and its meanings 

The German Scrat, and the Gaulifli Dufii . 

Robin Goodfellow .... 

Liberalia and Floralia feftivities 

Eafter, and hot-crofs-buns 

Heaving and lifting cuftoms at Eafter . , 

May-day feftivities, and the May-pole 

Bonfires ....•• 

St. John's, or Midfummer-eve 

Mother Bunch's inftruftion to maidens 

Plants and flowers connefted with phallic worftiip . 

The mandrake ..... 

Lady Godiva, the Shrewfbury fhow, and the Guild feftival at F 

Pagan rites of the early Chriftians 

Gnoftics, Manichaeans, Nicolaits, followers of Florian, &c 

The Bulgarians, and their praftices 

Walter Mapes' account of the Patarini, and their fecret rites 

The Waldenfes and Cathari 

Popular oaths and phallic worfhip . 

Secret fociety in Orleans for celebrating obfcene rites 

The Stedingers of Germany, and their fecret ceremonies 


The Knights Templars : 

Charges brought againft them 

Spitting on the Crofs, and the denial of Chrift 

The Kifs .... 

Intercourfe with women prohibited 

The Cat and Idol worftiip 

Baflbmet, or Baphomet 

Von Hammer's defcription of the Templars' images or ♦' idol " 

The Witches' Sabbath : 

Thelaft form which the Priapeia and Liberalia aflumed in Weftern Europe 206 



Trial of witches at Arras, in France 

Sprenger and others on witchcraft in the fifteenth century 

Bodin's defcription of the Sabbath ceremonies 

Pierre de Lancre's full account of the Witches' Sabbath 

Pidorial reprefentation of the ceremonies . 

Similarity of the proceedings of the Sabbath to thofc of the Templars 

Intermixture of Priapic orgies with the Chriftian rites and ceremonies 

Traces of phallic worfhip ftill exifting on the weftern fhores of Ireland 

z\ 2 





Note. — As frequent references are made to fame of the engraved figures in different 
parts of the work, it was found impofjible to infert the illuftrations always oppo- 
fite the explanatory text. The plates, therefore, have heen placed^ independently 
of the text, but in regular order. The following lijl, however, zvill refer the 
reader to thofe pages which explain the objeSls drawn : — 


I. Ex VoTi OF Wax, from Isernia . 

II. Ancient and Modern Amulets : 

Figure i . . . 

2 . 

3 • • • 

III. Antique Gems and Greek Medals : 

Figure i 



IV. Medals possessed by Payne Knight : 

Figure i 




V. Figures of Pan, Gems, &c 
Figure i 


VI. The Tauric Diana 

Defcribed on Page 

• 3. 7 

4, 28, 90 
28, 88 



23, 90 


33. 46 

. 46 

21, 33 

33. 34. 35, 89 

33, 46 

• 38 

• 73 

37,42, 54 






I on Page 


Goat and Satyr, Greek Sculpture 



Bronze Statue of Ceres 



Coins and Medals : 

Figure i . . . • 

. 29 










80, 81 


81, 83 





I I 


35. 79 




; 71 


Systrum, with Various Medals : 

Figure i . . . . 

. 67 


' 78, 

79, 80 




• 96 


. 83 








Sculpture from Elephanta 



Indian Temple, showing the Lingam 


56, 61 


Celtic Temple, Greek Medals, &c : 

Figure i, 2, 3, 

• 55 


. 64 



6, 7 



. » 60 

9, ID 

• 59 

1 1 

. 58 


Portable Temple dedicated to Priapus or th 

E "Lingam" 



Temple Dedicated to Bacchus, at Puzzuoli : 

Figure i . 

64, 65 

2 . . . . 

64, 66 


. 66 












Ornament from Puzzuoli Temple : 
Figure i . 

2 . 

Ornament from Puzzuoli Temple 

Egyptian Figures and Ornaments : 
Figure i . 

2 . 

3 ■ 

Egyptian Figures and Ornaments : 
Figure i 


6, 7 

The Lotus, with Medals of Melita, &c : 
Figure i . 

2 . 

3 . 

Bacchus, Medals of Camarina, Syracuse, &c 
Figure i . 

2, 3 
4, 5, 6 

7 . 

Statue of a Bull at Tanjore 

Tiger at the Breast of a Nymph 

Sculpture from Elephanta (^See P/ate XI.) 

Roman Sculptures from Nimes : 
Figure i , 2 

3 • 

4 . 

Monument found at N^mes in 1825 

Phallic Figures, &c. found in England : 
Figure i, 2, 3, 4 . 

Phallic Monuments found in Scotland, &c 
Figure i . 
2, 3 


Defcribed on F\ige 




5', 87, 89 

50, 87, 89 


87, 88 

34, 89 








47, 48 

1 20 

1 21 

122, 136 

119, 121 

I 24 




XXIX. Shelah-na-Gig Monuments : 
Figure i, 2, 3, 4 

XXX. Shelah-na-Gig Monuments : 
Figure i, 2, 3, . 

XXXI. Venus of the Vandals, Bronze Images, &c : 
Figure i, 2, 3, 4, 5 

6 ..... 

XXXII. Ornaments from the Church of San Fedele 
Figure i, 2, 3 . 

XXXIII. Phallic Leaden Tokens from the Seine : 

XXXIV. Leaden Ornaments from the Seine : 

Figure i .... 

2, 3, 4, 5 

XXXV. Amulets, &c. of Gold and Lead : 
Figure i, 2, 3, 4, 5 

XXXVI. Robin Goodfellow, Phallic Amulets, &c 
Figure i 

XXXVII. Priapic Illustrations from Old Ballads 
Figure \ ... 

2 ... 

XXXVIII. "Idol" of the Knights Templars 

XXXIX. Sculptures of the Templars' Mysteries : 
Figure 1 .... 

2 .... 

3 .... 

4 • • • •. 
XL. The Witches' Sabbath, from De Lancre, 161 3 

Defcribed on 


. 133 to 


. 133 to 


136 to 



137 to 




, , 









199 to 203 

200 to 203 
200 to 204 
199 to 204 

245, 246 








ISERNIJ, in the Kingdom of NAPLES: 


One from Sir William Hamilton, K.B., His Majefty's Minifter 
at the Court of Naples, to Sir Joseph Banks, Bart., Prefident 
of the Royal Society. 

And the other from a Perfon refiding at Ifernia : 



And its Connexion with the myftic Theology of the Ancients. 

By R. P. KNIGHT, Efq. 


Printed by T. Spilsbury, Snowhill. 




Naples, Dec. 30, 1781, 

lAVING laft year made a curious difcovery, that in a 
Province of this Kingdom, and not fifty miles from 
its Capital, a fort of devotion is ftill paid to Pria- 
pus, the obfcene Divinity of the Ancients (though 
under another denomination), I thought it a circum- 
ftance worth recording ; particularly, as it offers a frefh proof of the 
fimilitude of the Popifh and Pagan Religion, fo well obferved by 
Dr. Middleton, in his celebrated Letter from Rome: and there- 
fore I mean to depofit the authentic^ proofs of this aflertion in the 
Britifh Mufeum, when a proper opportunity fhall offer. In the 
mean time I fend you the following account, which, I flatter myfelf, 
will amufe you for the prefent, and may in future ferve to illuflrate 
thofe proofs. 

I had long ago difcovered, that the women and children of the 
lower clafs, at Naples, and in its neighbourhood, frequently wore, 

' A fpecimen of each of the ex-votioi wzx, with the original letter from Ifernia. 
See the Ex-voti, Plate i. 


as an ornament of drefs, a fort of Amulets, (which they imagine to 
be a prefervative from the mal occhii, evil eyes, or enchantment) 
exadly fimilar to thofe which were worn by the ancient Inhabitants 
of this Country for the very fame purpofe, as likewife for their 
fuppofed invigorating influence ; and all of which have evidently a 
relation to the Cult of Priapus. Struck with this conformity in 
ancient and modern fuperfliition, I made a colledion of both the 
ancient and modern Amulets of this fort, and placed them together 
in the Britifh Mufeum, where they remain. The modern 
Amulet mofl: in vogue reprefents a hand clinched, with the point 
of the thumb thruft betwixt the index and middle^ finger; the 
next is a fhell ; and the third is a half-moon. Thefe Amulets 
(except the fhell, which is ufually worn in its natural fl:ate) are mofl: 
commonly made of filver, but fometimes of ivory, coral, amber, 
cryftal, or fome curious gem, or pebble. We have a proof of the 
hand above defcribed having a connexion with Priapus, in a mofl 
elegant fmall idol of bronze of that Divinity, now in the Royal 
Mufeum of Portici, and which was found in the ruins of Her- 
culaneum : it has an enormous Phallus, and, with an arch look 
and gefliure, ftretches out its right hand in the form above men- 
tioned;^ and which probably was an emblem of confummation : 
and as a further proof of it, the Amulet which occurs mofl: fre- 
quently amongft thofe of the Ancients (next to that which reprefents 
the Ample Priapus), is fuch a hand united with the Phallus ; ot 
which you may fee feveral fpecimens in my colle6lion in the 
Britifli Mufeum. One in particular, I recoiled;, has alfo the half- 
moon joined to the hand and Phallus ; which half-moon is fuppofed 
to have an allufion to the female menfes. The fhell, or concha veneris. 

1 See Plate ii.. Fig. i. 

2 This elegant little figure is engraved in the firft volume of the Bronzes of the 


is evidently an emblem of the female part of generation. It is very 
natural then to fuppofe, that the Amulets reprefenting the Phallus 
alone, fo vifibly indecent, may have been long out of ufe in this 
civilized capital ; but I have been aflured, that it is but very lately 
that the Priefts have put an end to the wearing of fuch Amulets in 
Calabria, and other diftant Provinces of this Kingdom. 

A new road having been made laft year from this Capital to the 
Province of Abruzzo, paffing through the City of Ifernia (an- 
ciently belonging to the Samnites, and very populous^), a perfon ot 
liberal education, employed in that work, chanced to be at Ifernia 
juft at the time of the celebration of the Feaft of the modern 
Priapus, St. Cofmo ; and having been ftruck with the Angularity 
of the ceremony, fo very fimilar to that which attended the ancient 
Cult of the God of the Gardens, and knowing my tafte for anti- 
quities, told me of it. From this Gentleman's report, and from 
what I learnt on the fpot from the Governor of Ifernia himfelf, 
having gone to that city on purpofe in the month of February laft, I 
have drawn up the following account, which I have reafon to believe 
is ftridly true. I did intend to have been prefent at the Feaft of 
St. Cofmo this year; but the indecency of this ceremony having 
probably tranfpired, from the country's having been more frequented 
fince the new road was made, orders have been given, that the 
Great 'To^ of the Saint fhould no longer be expofed. The fol- 
lowing is the account of the Fete of St. Cofmo and Damiano, as 
it adually was celebrated at Ifernia, on the confines of Abruzzo, 
in the Kingdom of Naples, fo late as in the year of our Lord 

On the 27th of September, at Ifernia, one of the moft ancient 

^ The aftual population of Ifernia, according to the Governor's account, is 5 1 56. 
2 See the Italian letter, printed at the end of this, from which it appears the 
modern Priapi were fo called at Ifernia. 


cities of the Kingdom of Naples, fituated in the Province called the 
Contado di Molife, and adjoining to Abruzzo, an annual Fair 
is held, which lafts three days. The fituation of this Fair is on a 
rifing ground, between two rivers, about half a mile from the town 
of Ifernia; on the moft elevated part of which there is an ancient 
church, with a veftibule. The architecture is of the ftyle of the 
lower ages; and it is faid to have been a church and convent be- 
longing to the Benedidine Monks in the time of their poverty. 
This church is dedicated to St. Cofmus and Damianus. One of 
the days of the Fair, the relicks of the Saints are expofed, and 
afterwards carried in proceffion from the cathedral of the city to 
this church, attended by a prodigious concourfe of people. In the 
city, and at the fair, ex-voH of wax, reprefenting the male parts of 
generation, of various dimenlions, fome even of the length of a 
palm, are publickly offered to fale. There are alfo waxen vows, 
that reprefent other parts of the body mixed with them ; but of 
thefe there are few in comparifon of the number of the Priapi. 
The devout diftributers of thefe vows carry a bafket full of them 
in one hand, and hold a plate in the other to receive the money, 
crying aloud, "St. Cofmo and Damiano!" If you afk the price 
of one, the anfwer is, pin ci metti^ piu meriti : " The more you 
give, the more's the merit." In the veftibule are two tables, at 
each of which one of the canons of the church prefides, this crying 
out, ^ijt riceveno le Mijfe^ e Litanie : " Here MafTes and Lita- 
nies are received;" and the other, ^ifi riceveno li Voti : " Here 
the Vows are received." The price of a Mafs is fifteen Neapolitan 
grains, and of a Litany five grains. On each table is a large bafon 
for the reception of the different offerings. The Vows are chiefiy 
prefented by the female fex ; and they are feldom fuch as reprefent 
legs, arms, &;c., but moft commonly the male parts of generation. 
The perfon who was at this fete in the year 1780, and who gave 
me this account (the authenticity of every article of which has fince 


been fully confirmed to me by the Governor of Ifernia), told me 
alfo, that he heard a woman fay, at the time flie prefented a Vow, 
like that which is prefented in Plate 1. Fig. i., Santo Cojmo bene- 
detto, coji lo voglio : " Bleffed St. Cofmo, let it be like this ;" another, 
St. Cojimo, a te mi raccommendo: " St. Cofmo, I recommend myfelf 
to you ;" and a third, St. Cojimo^ ti ringrazio : " St. Cofmo, I thank 
you." The Vow is never prefented without being accompanied by 
a piece of money, and is always kifled by the devotee at the moment 
of prefentation. 

At the great altar in the church, another of its canons attends to 
give the holy undion, with the oil of St. Cofmo ;^ which is pre- 
pared by the fame receipt as that of the Roman Ritual, with the 
addition only of the prayer of the Holy Martyrs, St. Cofmus and 
Damianus. Thofe who have an infirmity in any of their members, 
prefent themfelves at the great altar, and uncover the member 
affeded (not even excepting that which is moft frequently repre- 
fented by the ex-voti) ; and the reverend canon anoints it, faying, 
Per inter cejfionem heati Cqfmi, liberet te ah omni malo. Amen. 

The ceremony finifhes by the canons of the church dividing the 
fpoils, both money and wax, which muft be to a very confiderable 
amount, as the concourfe at this fete is faid to be prodigioufly 

The oil of St. Cofmo is in high repute for its invigorating 
quality, when the loins, and parts adjacent, are anointed with it. 
No lefs than 1400 flafks of that oil were either expended at the 
altar in undions, or charitably diftributed, during this fete in the 
year 1780 ; and as it is ufual for every one, who either makes ufe 

' The cure of difeafes by oil is likewife of ancient date ; for Tertullian tells us, 
that a Chriftian, called Proculus, cured the Emperor Severus of a certain dillemper 
by the ufe of oil ; for which fervice the Emperor kept Proculus, as long as he lived, 
in his palace. 


of the oil at the altar, or carries off a flalk of it, to leave an alms 
for St. Cofmo, the ceremony of the oil becomes likewife a very 
lucrative one to the canons of the church. 

I am. Sir, 
With great truth and regard. 

Your moft obedient humble Servant, 

William Hamilton. 


Nell* Anno, 1780. 

N Ifernia CittL\ Sannitica, oggi della Provincia del 
Contado di Molife, ogni Anno li 27 Settembre 
vi e una Fiera della clafTe delle perdonanze (cofi 
dette negl' Abruzzi li gran mercati, e fiere non di 
lifta) : Ouefta fiera fi fa fopra d'una Collinetta, che 
fta in mezzo a due fiumi ; diftante mezzo miglio da Ifernia, dove 
nella parte piu elevata vi e un antica Chiefa con un veftibulo, archi- 
tettura de' bafli tempi, e che fi dice efler ftata Chiefa, e Moniftero 
de P. P. Benedettini, quando erano poveri ? La Chiefa e dedicata 
ai Santi Cosmo e Damiano, ed e Grancia del Reverendiffimo Capi- 
tolo. La Fiera e di 50 baracche a fabrica, ed i Canonici affittano le 
baracche, alcune 10, altre 15, al piu 20, carlini Tuna; affittano 
ancora per tre giorni 1' ofteria fatta di fabbrica docati 20 ed i 
comeftibili folo benedetti. Vi e un Eremita della fteffa umanita del 
fii F. Gland guardiano del Monte Vefuvio, cittato con rifpetto dall' 
Ab. Richard. La fiera dura tre giorni. II Maeftro di fiera 6 il 
Capitolo, ma commette al Governatore Regio ; e quefta alza bandiera 
con I'imprefa della Citta, che e la ftefla imprefa de P. P. Celeftini. 
Si fa una Proceffione con le Reliquie dei Santi, ed efce dalla Catte- 
drale,eva alia Chiefa fudetta; mac pocodevota. II giorno della fefta, 
si per la Citt£l,come nellacollinetta vi e un gran concorfo d' Abitatori 



del Motefe, Malnarde, ed altri Monti vicini, che la ftranezza delli 
veftimenti delle Donne, fembra, a chi non ha gl' occhi avvezzi ave- 
derle, il pui bel ridotto di mafcherate. Le Donne della Terra del 
Gallo fono vere figlie dell' Ordine Serafico Cappuccino, veftendo 
come li Zoccolanti in materia, e forma. Puelle di Scanno Sembrano 
Greche di Scio. Puelle di Carovilli Armene. Puelle delle Pefche, 
e Carpinone tengono ful capo alcuni panni roffi con ricamo di filo 
bianco, difegno ful gufto Etrufco, che a pochi pafTi fembra merletto 
d'Inghilterra. Vi e fra quefte Donne vera belezza, e diverfita 
grande nel veftire, anche fra due popolazioni viciniffime, ed un 
attaccamento particolare di certe popolazioni ad un colore, ed altre 
ad altro. L' abito e diftinto nelle Zitelle, Maritate, Vedove, e Donne 
di piacere? 

Nella fiera ed in Citta vi fono molti divoti, che vendono mem- 
bri virili di cera di diverfe forme, e di tutte le grandezze, fino ad 
un palmo ; e mifchiate vi fono ancora gambe, braccia, e faccie ; ma 
poche fono quefte. Quel li vendono tengono un cefto, ed un 
piatto ; li membri rotti fono nel cefto, ed il piatto ferve per racco- 
gliere il danaro d'elemoiina. Gridano S. Cosmo e Damiano. Chi 
€ fprattico domanda, quanto un vale ? Rifpondono^zY/ cimetti^piii 
meriti. Avanti la Chiefa nel veftibolo del Tempio vi fono due 
tavole, ciafcunacon fedia, dove prefiede un Canonico, e fuol' eftere 
uno il Primicerio, e I'altro Arciprete ; grida uno qui Jt ricevono le 
Mejfe^ e Litanie : V^hrOy qui ft ricevono li voti ; fopra delle tavole 
in ogn' una vi e un bacile, che ferve per raccogliere li membri di 
cera, che mai fi prefentano foli, ma con denaro, come ft e pratticato 
fempre in tutte le prefentazioni di membri, ad eccezzione di quelli 
deir Ifola di Ottaiti. Quefta divozione e tutta quafi delle Donne, 
e fono pochiftimi quelli, o quelle che prefentano gambe, e braccia, 
mentre tutta la gran fefta s' aggira a profitto de membri della gene- 
razione. lo ho intefo dire ad una donna. Santo Cojimo henedetto^ 
coji lo voglio. Altre dicevano, Santo CoJimo a te mi raccommando : 


altre, Santo Co/mo ringrazio ; e quefto c quello oflerval, e fi prat- 
tica nel veftibulo, baciando ogn 'una il voto che prefente. 

Dentro la chiefa nell' altare magglore un canonico fa le flmte 
unzioni con 1' olio di S. Cofimo. La ricetta di queft' olio u la fteffa 
del Rituale Romano, con 1' aggiuntadell' orazionedelli SS. Martiri, 
Cofimo e Damiano. Si prefentano all' Altare gl' Infermi d' ogni 
male, fnudano la parte offefa, anche 1' originale della copia di cera, 
ed il Canonico ungendoli dice. Per intercejfionem beati Cqfmi, liberet 
te ah omni malo. Amen. 

Finifce la fefta con dividerfi li Canonici la cera, ed il denaro, e 
con ritornar gravide molte Donne fterili maritate, a profitto della 
popolazione delle Provincie ; e fpeffo la grazia s' entende fenza 
meraviglia, alle Zitelle, e Vedove, che per due notti hanno dormito, 
alcune nella Chiefa de' P. P. Zoccolanti,ed altre delli Capuccini, non 
eflendoci in Ifernia Cafe locande per alloggiare tutto il numero di 
gente, che concorre : onde li Frati, ajutando ai Preti, danno le 
Chiefe alle Donne, ed i Portici agl' Uomini ; e cofi Divifi fucce- 
dendo gravidanze non deve dubitar si, che fi a opera tutta miraco- 
lofa, e di divozione. 


L' olio non folo ferve per 1' unzione che fa il Canonico, ma anche 
fi difpenfa in piccioliifime caraffine, e ferve per ungerfi li lombo a 
chi ha male a quefta parte. In queft' anno 1780. fi fono date par 
divozione 1400 caraffine, e fi c confumato mezzo Stajo d' olio. Chi 
prende una caraffina da 1' olemofina. 


Li Canonici che fiedono nel Veftibulo prendono denaro d' Ele- 
mofina per Mefte, e per Litanie. Le MefTea grana 1 5. e le Litanie a 
grana 5. 


Li foreftieri alloggiano non folo fra li Cappuccini e Zoccolanti, 
ma anche nell' Eramo di S. Cofmo. Le Donne che dormono nelle 
chiefe de' P. P. Sudetti fono guardate dalli Guardiani, Vicarj e 
Padri piu di merito, e quelli dell' Eremo fono in cura dell' Eremita, 
divife anche dai Proprj Mariti, e fi fanno fpeflb miracoli fenza 
incomodo delli fanti. 

Le non le gufta, quando 1' avra letta 
Tornera bene fame una baldoria : 
Che le daranno almen qualche diletto 
Le Monachine quando vanno a letto. 


EN, confidered colledively, are at all times the fame 
animals, employing the fame organs, and endowed 
with the fame faculties : their pafTions, prejudices, 
and conceptions, will of courfe be formed upon the 
fame internal principles, although'direded to various 
ends, and modified in various ways, by the variety of external cir- 
cumftances operating upon them. Education and fcience may cor- 
red, reftrain, and extend ; but neither can annihilate or create : they 
may turn and embellifh thecurrents ; but can neither ftop nor enlarge 
the fprings, which, continuing to flow with a perpetual and equal 
tide, return to their ancient channels, when the caufes that perverted 
them are withdrawn. 

The firft principles of the human mind will be more diredly 
brought into adion, in proportion to the earneftnefs and afleftion 
with which it contemplates its objed ; and paffion and prejudice will 
acquire dominion over it, in proportion as its firfl: principles are more 
direcflly brought into aftion. On all common fubjedls, this dominion 
of paffion and prejudice is reftrained by the evidence of fenfe and 
perception ; but, when the mind is led to the contemplation of things 
beyond its comprehenfion, all fuch refliraints vanifh : reafon has then 


nothing to oppofe to the phantoms of imagination, which acquire 
terrors from their obfcurity, and didate uncontrolled, becaufe un- 
known. Such is the cafe in all religious fubjeds, which, being 
beyond the reach of fenfe or reafon, are always embraced or rejeded 
with violence and heat. Men think they know, becaufe they are 
fure they feel ; and are firmly convinced, becaufe ftrongly agitated. 
Hence proceed that hafte and violence with which devout perfons 
of all religions condemn the rites and dodrines of others, and the 
furious zeal and bigotry with which they maintain their own ; while 
perhaps, if both were equally well underftood, both would be found 
to have the fame meaning, and only to differ in the modes of con- 
veying it. 

Of all the profane rites which belonged to the ancient poly- 
theifm, none were more furiouily inveighed againft by the zealous 
propagators of the Chriftian faith, than the obfcene ceremonies per- 
formed in the worfhip of Priapus ; which appeared not only contrary 
to the gravity and fandity of religion, but fubverfive of the firft 
principles of decency and good order in fociety. Even the form 
itfelf, under which the god was reprefented, appeared to them a 
mockery of all piety and devotion, and more fit to be placed in a 
brothel than a temple. But the forms and ceremonials of a religion 
are not always to be underfliood in their dired and obvious fenfe ; 
but are to beconfideredas fymbolical reprefentations of fome hidden 
meaning, which may be extremely wife and jufi:, though the fymbols 
themfelves, to thofe who know not their true fignification, may 
appear in the highefl: degree abfurd and extravagant. It has often 
happened, that avarice and fuperfi:ition have continued thefe fym- 
bolical reprefentations for ages after their original meaning has 
been lofl: and forgotten ; when they muft of courfe appear non- 
fenfical and ridiculous, if not impious and extravagant. 

Such is the cafe with the rite now under confideration, than which 


nothing can be more monftrous and indecent, if confidered in its 
plain and obvious meaning, or as a part of the Chriftian worfliip ; 
but which will be found to be a very natural fymbol of a very 
natural and philofophical fyftem of religion, if confidered according 
to its original ufe and intention. 

What this was, I fhall endeavour in the following fheets to explain 
as concifelv and clearly as poffible. Thofe who wifh to know how 
generally the fymbol, and the religion which it reprefented, once 
prevailed, will confult the great and elaborate work of Mr. D'Han- 
carville, who, with infinite learning and ingenuity, has traced its 
progrefs over the whole earth. My endeavour will be merely to 
fhow, from what original principles in the human mind it was firft 
adopted, and how it was connected with the ancient theology : mat- 
ters of verv curious inquiry, which will ferve, better perhaps than 
any others, to illuftrate that truth, which ought to be prefent in every 
man's mind when he judges of the adions of others, that in morals^ 
as well as phyjics^ there is no ejfe£l without an adequate cauje. If in 
doing this, I frequently find it neceflary to differ in opinion with 
the learned author above-mentioned, it will be always with the ut- 
moft deference and refpedl ; as it is to him that we are indebted for 
the onlv reafonable method of explaining the emblematical works of 
the ancient artifts. 

Whatever the Greeks and Egyptians meant by the fymbol in 
queftion, it was certainly nothing ludicrous or licentious; of which 
we need no other proof, than its having been carried in folemn 
proceffion at the celebration of thofe myfteries in which the firft 
principles of their religion, the knowledge of the God of Nature, the 
Firft, the Supreme, the Intelledtual,^ were preferved free from the 
vulgar fuperftitions, and communicated, under the ftridleft oaths of 

1 Plut. de Is. et Os. 


fecrecy, to the iniated (initiated) ; who were obliged to purify them- 
felves, prior to their initiation, by abftaining from venery, and all 
impure food.^ We may therefore be aflured, that no impure mean- 
ing could be conveyed by this fymbol ; but that it reprefented fome 
fundamental principle of their faith. What this was, it is difficult 
to obtain any dired information, on account of the fecrecy under 
which this part of their religion was guarded. Plutarch tells us, 
that the Egyptians reprefented Ofiris with the organ of generation 
ered, to fhow his generative and prolific power : he alfo tells us, 
that Ofiris was the same Deity as the Bacchus of the Greek Mytho- 
logy ; who was alfo the fame as the firft begotten Love (E/jw? 
7r/3a)T07oi^o9) of Orpheus and Hefiod.^ This deity is celebrated by 
the ancient poets as the creator of all things, the father of gods 
and men;" and it appears, by the pafi"age above referred to, that 
the organ of generation was the fymbol of his great charaaerifl;ic 
attribute. This is perfedly confiflient with the general practice of 
the Greek artifl:s, who (as will be made appear hereafter) uniformly 
reprefented the attributes of the deity by the correfponding pro- 
perties obferved in the objedis of fight. They thus perfonified the 
epithets and titles applied to him in the hymns and litanies, and 
conveyed their ideas of him by forms, only intelligible to the ini- 
tiated, inftead of founds, which were intelligible to all. The organ 
of generation reprefented the generative or creative attribute, and in 
the language of painting and fculpture, fignified the fame as the 
epithet Trayyeverco^^ in the Orphic litanies. 

This interpretation will perhaps furprife thofe who have not 
been accufliomed to divefl: their minds of the prejudices of education 
and fafiiion ; but I doubt not, but it will appear jufl: and reafonable 
to thofe who confider manners and cuftoms as relative to the natural 

1 Plut. tie Is. ei Os. ^ Ibid. ^ Orph. Jrgon. 422. 


caufes which produced them, rather than to the artificial opinions 
and prejudices of any particular age or country. There is naturally 
no impurity or licentioufnefs in the moderate and regular gratifica- 
tion of any natural appetite ; the turpitude confifting wholly in the 
excefs or perverfion. Neither are organs of one fpecies of enjoy- 
ment naturally to be confidered as fubjefts of fliame and conceal- 
ment more than thofe of another ; every refinement of modern 
manners on this head being derived from acquired habit, not from 
nature: habit, indeed, long eftablifhed ; for it feems to have been 
as general in Homer's days as at prefent ; but which certainly did 
not exift when the* myftic fymbols of the ancient worfhip were firft 
adopted. As thefe fymbols were intended to exprefs abftraft ideas 
by objeds of fight, the contrivers of them naturally felefted thofe 
objeds whofe charaderiftic properties feemed to have the greateft 
analogy with the Divine attributes which they wifhed to reprefent. 
In an age, therefore, when no prejudices of artificial decency exifted, 
what more juft and natural image could they find, by which to 
exprefs their idea of the beneficent power of the great Creator, than 
that organ which endowed them with the power of procreation, 
and made them partakers, not only of the felicity of the Deity, but 
of his great charadleriftic attribute, that of multiplying his own 
image, communicating his bleffmgs, and extending them to genera- 
tions yet unborn ? 

In the ancient theology of Greece, preferved in the Orphic 
Fragments, this Deity, the E/0ft)9 irpcoroyovo'?, or firft-begotten Love, 
is faid to have been produced, together with i^ther, by Time, or 
Eternity {Kpovo<;), and NecefTity {Avayxv)y operating upon inert 
matter {Xao<: ). He is defcribed as eternally begetting {aeiyvrjTrj^ ) ; 
the Father of Night, called in later times, the lucid or fplendid, 
{(f)avr]^)^ becaufe he firft appeared in fplendour; of a double 
nature, (St^u??? ), as pofTefling the general power of creation 


and generation, both aftive and pafTive, both male and female.^ 
Light is his neceffary and primary attribute, co-eternal with him- 

'Orph. Argo7i., ver. i 2. This poem of the Argonautic Expedition is not of the 
ancient Orpheus, but written in his name by fome poet pofterior to Homer ; as 
appears by the allufion to Orpheuf's defcent into hell ; a fable invented after the 
Homeric times. It is, however, of very great antiquity, as both the flyle and manner 
fufficiently prove ; and, I think, cannot be later than the age of Pififtratus, to which 
it has been generally attributed. The paflage here referred to is cited from another 
poem, which, at the time this was written, paffed for a genuine work of the 
Thracian bard : whether jullly or not, matters little ; for its being thought fo at that 
time proves it to be of the remoteft antiquity. The other Orphic poems cited in this 
difcourfe are the Hymns, or Litanies, which are attributed by the early Chriftian and 
later Platonic writers to Onomacritus, a poet of the age of Pififtratus ; but which 
are probably of various authors (See Brucker. Hijl. Crit. Philos., vol. i., part 2, 
lib. i., c. i.) They contain, however, nothing which proves them to be later than 
the Trojan times ; and if Onomacritus, or any later author, had anything to do with 
them, it feems to have been only in new-verfifying them, and changing the dialed 
(See Gefner. Proleg. Orphica, p. 26). Had he forged them, and attempted to 
impofe them upon the world, as the genuine compofitions of an ancient bard, there 
can be no doubt but that he would have fluffed them with antiquated words and 
obfolete phrafes ; which is by no means the cafe, the language being pure and 
worthy the age of Pififtratus. Thefe poems are not properly hymns, for the hymns 
of the Greeks contained the nativities and aftions of the gods, like thofe of Homer 
and Callimachus ; but thefe are compofitions of a different kind, and are properly 
invocations or prayers ufed in the Orphic myfteries, and feem nearly of the fame 
clafs as the Pfalms of the Hebrews. The reafon why they are fo feldom mentioned 
by any of the early writers, and fo perpetually referred to by the later, is that they 
belonged to the myftic worfliip, where everything was kept concealed under the 
ftricteft oaths of fecrefy. But after the rife of Chriftianity, this facred filence was 
broken by the Greek converts, who revealed everything which they thought would 
depreciate the old religion or recommend the new ; whilft the heathen priefts 
revealed whatever they thought would have contrary tendency; and endeavoured to 
fhow, by publifliing the real myftic creed of their religion, that the principles of it 
were not ib abfurd as its outward ftrufture feemed to infer ; but that, when ftripped 
of poetical allegory and vulgar fable, their theology was pure, reafonable, and fublime 
(Gefner. Proleg. Orphica). The colledlion of thefe poems now extant, being pro- 
bably compiled and verfified by feveral hands, with fome forged, and others interpo- 
lated and altered, muft be read with great caution ; more efpecially the Fragments 


felf, and with him brought forth from inert matter by neceffity. 
Hence the purity and fandity always attributed to light l)y the 

preferved by the Fathers of the Church and Ammonian Platonics ; for thefe writers 
made no fcruple of forging any monuments of antiquity wliich luitcd their purpofes ; 
particularly the former, who, in addition to their natural zeal, having the interells or 
a confederate body to fupport, thought every means by which they could benefit 
that body, by extending the lights of revelation, and gaining profelytes to the true 
faith, not only allowable, but meritorious (See Clementina, Hom, vii., fee. 10. 
Recogn. lib. i., ^^c. 65. Origen. apud Hieronom. Apolog. i., contra Ruf. et 
Chryfoftom. de Sacerdot., lib. i. Chryfoftom, in particular, not only jurtifies, but 
warmly commends, any frauds that can be praftifed for the advantage of the Church 
of Chriil). Paufanias fays (lib. ix.), that the Hymns of Orpheus were few and 
(hort; but next in poetical merit to thofe of Homer, and iliperior to them in fanftity 
(deoXoyiKMTepoL). Thefe are probably the fame as the genuine part of the colleftion 
now extant; but they are fo intermixed, that it is difficult to fay which are genuine 
and which are not. Perhaps there is no furer rule for judging than to compare the 
epithets and allegories with the fymbols and monograms on the Greek medals, and 
to make their agreement the tell of authenticity. The medals were the public afts 
and records of the State, made under the direftion of the magiftrates, who were gene- 
rally initiated into the mylleries. We may therefore be aflured, that whatever 
theological and mythological allufions are found upon them were part of the ancient 
religion of Greece. It is from thefe that many of the Orphic Hymns and Fragments 
are proved to contain the pure theology or myilic faith of the ancients, which is 
called Orphic by Paufanias (lib. i. , c. 39), and which is fo unlike the vulgar religion, 
or poetical mythology, that one can fcarcely imagine at firil fight that it belonged 
to the fame people; but which will neverthelefs appear, upon accurate invelligation, 
to be the fource from whence it flowed, and the caufe of all its extravagance. 

The hillory of Orpheus himfelf is fo confufed and obfcured by fable, that it is 
impoflible to obtain any certain information concerning him. According to general 
tradition, he was a Thracian, and introduced the mylleries, in which a more pure 
fyilem of religion was taught, into Greece (Brucker, vol. i., part 2, lib. i., c. i.) 
He is alfo laid to have travelled into Egypt (Diodor. Sic. lib. i., p. 80); but as the 
Egyptians pretended that all foreigners received their fciences from them, at a time 
when all foreigners who entered the country were put to death or enflaved (Diodor. 
Sic. lib. i., pp. 78 et 107), this account may be rejefted, with many others ot the 
fame kind. The Egyptians certainly could not have taught Orpheus the plurality 
of worlds, and true folar fyilem, which appear to have been the fundamental 
principles of his philofophy and religion (Plutarch, de Placit. Philos., lib. ii., c. 13. 


Greeks.^ He is called the Father of Night, becaufe by attradiingthe 
light to himfelf, and becoming the fountain which distributed it to 
the world, he produced night, which is called eternally-begotten, 
becaufe it had eternally exifted, although mixed and loft in the 
general mafs. He is faid to pervade the world with the motion of 
his wings, bringing pure light ; and thence to be called the fplendid, 
the ruling Priapus,and self-illumined {avTavyrjs:'^). It is to beobferved, 
that the word IlpLi]7ro<;, afterwards the name of a fubordinate deity, 
is here ufed as a title relating to one of his attributes; the reafons 
for which I fhall endeavour to explain hereafter. Wings are figura- 
tively attributed to him as being the emblems of fwiftnefs and incu- 
bation ; by the firft of which he pervaded matter, and by the fecond 
fructified the egg of Chaos. The egg was carried in procefiion at 
the celebration of the myfteries, becaufe, as Plutarch fays, it was 
the material of generation (yXv tt^'^ r^eveaews;^) containing the feeds 
and germs of life and motion, without being actually poiTefl^ed of 
either. For this reafon, it was a very proper fymbol of Chaos, con- 
taining the feeds and materials of all things, which, however, were 
barren and ufelefs, until the Creator frudified them by the incuba- 
tion of his vital fpirit, and releafed them from the reftraints of inert 

Brucker ifi he. citat. ) Nor could he have gained this knowledge from any people 
which hiftory has preferved any memorials ; for we know of none among whom 
fcience had made fuch a progrefs, that a truth fo remote from common obfervation, 
and fo contradiflory to the evidence of unimproved fenfe, would not have been 
rejefted, as it was by all the fefts of Greek philofophy except the Pythagoreans, who 
rather revered it as an article of faith, than underftood it as a difcovery of fcience. 
Thrace was certainly inhabited by a civilized nation at fome remote period ; for, 
when Philip of Macedon opened the gold mines in that country, he found that they 
had been worked before with great expenfe and ingenuity, by a people well verfed 
in mechanics, of whom no memorials whatever were then extant. Of thefe, pro- 
bably, was Orpheus, as well as Thamyris, both of whofe poems, Plato fays, could 
be read with pleafure in his time. 

* See Sophocl. Qi,Jip. Tyr., ver. 1436. ^ Orph. Hym. 5. 3 Symph. 1. 2. 


matter, by the efforts of his divine ftrength. The incubation of the 
vital fpirit is reprefented on the colonial medals of Tyre, by a fer- 
pent wreathed around an egg;^ for the ferpent, having the power 
of carting his fkin, and apparently renewing his youth, became the 
fymbol of life and vigour, and as fuch is always made an attendant 
on the mythological deities prefiding over health.'- It is alfo ob- 
ferved, that animals of the ferpent kind retain life more pertinacioufly 
than any others except the Polypus, which is fometimes reprefented 
upon the Greek Medals,^ probably in its ftead. I have myfelf feen 
the heart of an adder continue its vital motions for many minutes 
after it has been taken from the body, and even renew them, after 
it has been cold, upon being moiftened with warm water, and 
touched with a ftimulus. 

The Creator, delivering the frud;ified feeds of things from the 
reftraints of inert matter by his divine ftrength, is reprefented on 
innumerable Greek medals by the Urus, or wild Bull, in the ad of 
butting againft the Egg of Chaos, and breaking it with his horns.' 
It is true, that the egg is not reprefented with the bull on any of 
thofe which I have feen; but Mr. D'Hancarville"^ has brought 
examples from other countries, where the fame fyftem prevailed, 
which, as well as the general analogy of the Greek theology, prove 
that the egg muft have been underftood, and that the attitude of the 
bull could have no other meaning. I fhall alfo have occafion here- 
after to ftiow by other examples, that it was no uncommon pradice, 
in thefe myftic monuments, to make a part of a group reprefent 
the whole. It was from this horned fymbol of the power of the 

1 See Plate xxi. Fig. i. ~ Macrob. Sat. i. c. 20. 

3 See Goltz, Tab. 11. Figs. 7 and 8. 

"* See Plate IV. Fig. i, and Recherches furies Arts, vol. i. PI. viii. The Hebrew 
word Ckroub, or Cherub, fignificd originally y/ro//^ or robuji ; but is ufually employed 
metaphorically, fignifying a Bull. See Cleric, in Exod. c. xxv. 

^ Recherches fur les Arts, lib. i. 


Deity that horns were placed in the portraits of kings to fhow that 
their power was derived from Heaven, and acknowledged no earthly 
fuperior. The moderns have indeed changed the meaning of this 
fymbol, and given it a fenfe of which, perhaps, it would be difficult 
to find the origin, though I have often wondered that it has never 
exercifed the fagacity of thofe learned gentlemen who make Britifh 
antiquities the fubjefts of their laborious inquiries. At prefent, it 
certainly does not bear any character of dignity or power ; nor does 
it ever imply that thofe to whom it is attributed have been parti- 
cularly favoured by the generative or creative powers. But this is 
a fubjed much too important to be difcufTed in a digreffion ; I fhall 
therefore leave it to thofe learned antiquarians who have done 
themfelves fo much honour, and the public fo much fervice, by 
their fuccefsful inquiries into cuftoms of the fame kind. To their 
indefatigable induftry and exquifite ingenuity I earneftly recommend 
it, only obferving that this modern acceptation of the fymbol is of 
confiderable antiquity, for it is mentioned as proverbial in the 
Oneirocritics of Artemidorus ; ^ and that it is not now confined to 
Great Britain, but prevails in moft parts of Christendom, as the 
ancient acceptation of it did formerly in moft parts of the world, 
even among that people from whofe religion Chriftianity is derived ; 
for it is a common mode of expreflion in the Old Teftament, to 
fay that the horns of any one fhall be exalted, in order to fignify 
that he fhall be raifed into power or pre-eminence ; and when Mofes 
defcended from the Mount with the fpirit of God ftill upon him, his 
head appeared horned." 

To the head of the bull was fometimes joined the organ of 
generation, which reprefented not only the ftrength of the Creator, 

1 Lib. i. c. 12. 

2 Exod. c. xxxiv.v. 35, ed. Vulgat. Other tranflators underftand the expreffion 
metaphorically, and Tuppofe it to mean radiated, or luminous. 


but the peculiar diredlion of it to the moft beneficial purpofe, the 
propagation of fenfitive beings. Of this there is a fmall bronze in 
the Mufeum of Mr. Townley, of which an engraving is given in 
Plate III. Fig. 1} 

Sometimes this generative attribute is reprefented by the fymbol 
of the goat, fuppofed to be the moft falacious of animals, and there- 
fore adopted upon the fame principles as the bull and the ferpent.'^ 
The choral odes, fung in honour of the generator Bacchus, were 
hence called TpaycDSiai, or fongs of the goat ; a title which is now 
applied to the dramatic dialogues anciently inferted in thefe odes, 
to break their uniformity. On a medal, ftruck in honour of 
Auguftus, the goat terminates in the tail of a fifh, to fhow the 
generative power incorporated with water. Under his feet is the 
globe of the earth, fuppofed to be fertilifed by this union; and upon 
his back, the cornucopia, reprefenting the refult of this fertility.^ 

Mr. D'Hancarville attributes the origin of all thefe fymbols 
to the ambiguity of words; the fame term being employed in the 
primitive language to fignify God and a Bull, the Univerfe and 
a Goat, Life and a Serpent. But words are only the types and 
fymbols of ideas, and therefore muft be pofterior to them, in the 
fame manner as ideas are to their objed:s. The words of a primitive 
language, being imitative of the ideas from which they fprung, 
and of the objefts they meant to exprefs, as far as the imperfedions 
of the organs of fpeech will admit, there muft neceftarily be the fame 
kind of analogy between them as between the ideas and objeds 
themfelves. It is impoftible, therefore, that in fuch a language 
any ambiguity of this fort could exift, as it does in fecondary 

1 See Plate iii. 

^ Tov 8e rpayov acoeOecocrav (o't Aijvmtlol) Kadawep kcl wapa TOi? EWtjai 
reTLfiija-daL Xerfcai tov YlpiawoVySia to yevmjTiKov p,opLov.'DioDOR.\'ib.\.p."8. 

3 Plate X. Fig. 3. 


languages ; the words of which, being colleded from various 
fources,and blended togetherwithout having any natural conneftion, 
become arbitrary figns of convention, inftead of imitative reprefen- 
tations of ideas. In this cafe it often happens, that words, fimilar 
in form, but different in meaning, have been adopted from different 
fources, which, being blended together, lofe their little difference 
of form, and retain their entire difference of meaning. Hence 
ambiguities arife, fuch as thofe above mentioned, which could not 
poffibly exift in an original tongue. 

The Greek poets and artifts frequently give the perfonification 
of a particular attribute for the Deity himfelf ; hence he is called 
Taf/3o/3oa9, TaypwTTo?, Tau/ao/Aopc^o?,^ &c., and hence the initials and 
monograms of the Orphic epithets applied to the Creator, are found 
with the bull, and other fymbols, on the Greek medals.^ It muft 
not be imagined from hence, that the ancients fuppofed the Deity 
to exift under the form of a bull, a goat, or a ferpent: on the 
contrary, he is always defcribed in the Orphic theology as a 
general pervading Spirit, without form, or diftind locality of any 
kind; and appears, by a curious fragment preferved by Proclus,^ 
to have been no other than attratlion perfonified. The felf-created 
mind {I'oo'i avTo<yeve6\o'i) of the Eternal Father is faid to have fpread 
the heavy bond of love through all things [iracnv eveaireipev heafiov 
TrepL^pidr) E/awro?), in order that they might endure for ever. This 
Eternal Father is Kpovo<i, time or eternity, perfonified; and fo taken 
for the unknown Being that fills eternity and infinity. The ancient 
theologifts knew that we could form no pofitive idea of infinity, 
whether of power, fpace, or time ; it being fleeting and fugitive, 
and eluding the underftanding by a continued and boundlefs pro- 

1 Orph. Hymn. v. et xxix. 

2 Numm. Vet. Pop. et Urb. Tab. xxxix. Figs. 19 et 20. They are on moft of the 
medals of Marfeilles, Naples, Thurium and many other cities. 

3 In Tim. in., et Frag. Orphic, ed. Gefner. 


greflion. The only notion we have of it is from the addition or 
divifion of finite things, which fuggefl: the idea of infinite, only 
from a power we feel in ourfelves of ftill multiplying and dividing 
without end. The Schoolmen indeed were bolder, and, by a fum- 
mary mode of reafoning, in which they were very expert, proved 
that they had as clear and adequate an idea of infinity, as of any 
finite fubftance whatever. Infinity, faid they, is that which has no 
bounds. This negation, being a pofitive afiertion, mufl: be founded 
on a pofitive idea. We have therefore a pofitive idea of infinity. 
TheEclefticJ ews,and their foUowerSjtheAmmonian and Chrifl:ian 
conform to the ancient theology, held infinity of fpace to be only 
the immenfitv of the divine prefence. 'O 0eo9 havrV) totto^ eari^ was 
their dogma, which is now inferted into the Confefiional of the 
Greek Church." This infinity was difl:inguifhed by them from 
common fpace, as time was from eternity. Whatever is eternal or 
infinite, faid they, muft be abfolutely indivifible ; becaufe divifion 
is in itfelf inconfifl:ent with infinite continuity and duration: there- 
fore fpace and time are difl:inft from infinity and eternity, which are 
void of all parts and gradations whatever. Time is meafured by 
years, days, hours, &c., and difliinguifhed by paft, prefent, and 
future ; but thefe, being divifions, are excluded from eternity, as 
locality is from infinity, and as both are from the Being who fills 
both ; who can therefore feel no fucceflion of events, nor know any 
gradation of diftance; but muft comprehend infinite duration as if 
it were one moment, and infinite extent as if it were but a fingle 
point.'' Hence the Ammonian Platonics fpeak of him as concen- 
tered in his own unity, and extended through all things, but par- 

• Philo. (Ic Leg. Alleg. lib. i. Jo. Damafc dc Orth. Fid. 

2 Mofheim. Nota in Sec. xxiv. Cudw. SyJ}. Intelka. 

3 See Boeth. de Confol. Philof. lib. iv. prof. 6. 



ticipated of by none. Being of a nature more refined and elevated 
than intelligence itfelf, he could not be known by fenfe, perception, 
or reafon ; and being the caufe of all, he muft be anterior to all, 
even to eternity itfelf, if confidered as eternity of time, and not as 
the intelleftual unity, which is the Deity himfelf, by whofe emana- 
tions all things exift, and to whofe proximity or diftances they owe 
their degrees of excellence or bafenefs. Being itfelf, in itsmoft abftrad: 
fenfe, is derived from him ; for that which is the caufe and begin- 
ning of all Beings cannot be a part of that All which fprung from 
himfelf: therefore he is not Being, nor is Being his Attribute ; for 
that which has an attribute cannot have the abftrad: fimplicity of 
pure unity. All Being is in its nature finite; for, if it was other- 
wife, it muft be without bounds every way ; and therefore could 
have no gradation of proximity to the firft caufe, or confequent 
pre-eminence of one part over another : for, as all diftind:ions of 
time are excluded from infinite duration, and all divifions of locality 
from infinite extent, fo are all degrees of priority from infinite pro- 
greifion. The mind is and a5is in itfelf; but the abftradl unity of 
the firft cause is neither in itfelf, nor in another; — not in itfelf, be- 
caufe that would imply modification, from which abftradl fimplicity 
is neceflarily exempt ; nor in another, becaufe then there would be 
an hypoftatical duality, inftead of abfolute unity. In both cafes 
there would be a locality of hypoftafis, inconfiftent with intellectual 
infinity. As all phyfical attributes were excluded from this meta- 
phyfical abftrad:ion, which they called their firft caufe, he muft of 
courfe be deftitute of all moral ones, which are only generalifed 
modes of adiion of the former. Even fimple abftradt truth was 
denied him ; for truth, as Proclus fays, is merely the relative to 
falfehood; and no relative can exift without a pofitive or correlative. 
The Deity therefore who has no falfehood, can have no truth, in 
our fenfe of the word.^ 

^ Proclus in Theolog. Platan, lib. i. et ii. 


As metaphyfical theology is a ftudy very generally, and very 
defervedly, negleded at prefent, I thought this little fpecimen of it 
might be entertaining, from its novelty, to moft readers ; efpecially 
as it is intimately connedled with the ancient fyftem, which I have 
here undertaken to examine. Thofe, who wifli to know more ot 
it, may consult Proclus on the Theology of Plato, where they will 
find the moft exquifite ingenuity moft wantonly wafted. No 
perfons ever ftiewed greater acutenefs or ftrength of reafoning than 
the Platonics and Scholaftics; but having quitted common fenfe, 
and attempted to mount into the intelleftual world, they expended 
it all in abortive efforts, which may amufe the imagination, but 
cannot fatisfy the underftanding. 

The ancient Theologifts ftiowed more difcretion ; for, finding 
that they could conceive no idea of infinity, they were content to 
revere the Infinite Being in the moft general and efficient exertion 
of his power, attradion ; whofe agency is perceptible through all 
matter, and to which all motion may, perhaps, be ultimately traced. 
This power, being perfonified, became the fecondary Deity, to whom 
all adoration and worftiip were direded, and who is therefore fre- 
quently confidered as the fole and fupreme caufe of all things. His 
agency being fuppofed to extend through the whole material world, 
and to produce all the various revolutions by which its fyftem is 
fuftained, his attributes were of courfe extremely numerous and 
varied. Thefe were exprefl'ed by various titles and epithets in the 
myftic hymns and litanies, which the artifts endeavoured to reprefent 
by various forms and charaders of men and animals. The great 
charaderiftic attribute was reprefented by the organ of generation in 
that ftate of tenfion and rigidity which is neceflary to the due per- 
formance of its fundions. Many fmall images of this kind have 
been found among the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii, attached 
to the bracelets, which the chafte and pious matrons of antiquity 
wore round their necks and arms. In thefe, the organ of generation 


appears alone, or only accompanied with the wings of incubation, ^ 
in order to fhow that the devout wearer devoted herfelf wholly and 
folely to procreation, the great end for which fhe was ordained. So 
expreffive a fymbol, being conftantly in her view, muft keep her 
attention fixed on its natural objeft, and continually remind her of 
the gratitude fhe owed the Creator, for having taken her into his 
fervice, made her a partaker of his moft valuable bleffings, and 
employed her as the paffive inftrument in the exertion of his moft 
beneficial power. 

The female organs ofgeneration were revered^ as fymbols of the 
generative powers of nature or matter, as the male were of the gene- 
rative powers of God. They are ufually reprefented emblematically, 
by the Shell, or Concha Veneris, which was therefore worn by devout 
perfons of antiquity, as it ftill continues to be by pilgrims, and many 
of the common women of Italy. The union of both was exprefled 
by the hand mentioned in Sir William Hamilton's letter;^ which 
beingalefs explicit fymbol, has efcaped the attention of the reformers, 
and is ftill worn, as well as the ftiell, by the women of Italy, though 
without being underftood. It reprefented the ad: of generation, 
which was confidered as a folemn facrament, in honour of the Crea- 
tor, as will be more fully ftiown hereafter. 

The male organs of generation are fometimes found reprefented 
by figns of the fame fort, which might properly be called the fym- 
bols of fymbols. One of the moft remarkableof thefeisacrofs, in the 
form of- the letter T,'* which thus ferved as the emblem of creation 
and generation, before the church adopted it as the fign of falvation ; 
a lucky coincidence of ideas, which, without doubt, facilitated the 

^ Plate II. Fig, 2. engraved from one in the Britifh Mufeum. 
^ Auguft. de Civ. Dei, Lib. vi. c. 9. 

3 See Platen. Fig. i. from one in the Britifh Mul'eum, in which both fymbols are 

^ Recherches lur les Arts, lib. i. c. 3. 


reception of it among the faithful. To the reprefentativeof themale 
organs was fometimes added a human head, which gives it the exad 
appearance of a crucifix ; as it has on a medal of Cyzicus, publifhcd 
by M. Pellerin.' On an ancient medal, found in Cyprus, which, 
from the ftyle of workmanfhip, is certainly anterior to the Mace- 
donian conqueft, it appears with the chaplet or rofary, fuch as is 
now ufed in the Romifh churches ;'- the beads of which were ufed, 
anciently, to reckon time;' Their being placed in a circle, marked 
its progrefiive continuity; while their feparation from each other 
marked the divifions, by which it is made to return on itfelf, and 
thus produce years, months, and days. The fymbol of the creative 
power is placed upon them, becaufe thefe divifions were particularly 
under his influence and protedion ; the fun being his vifible image, 
and the centre of his power, from which his emanations extended 
through the univerfe. Hence the Egyptians, in their facred hymns, 
called upon Ofiris, as the being who dwelt concealed in the em- 
braces of the fun;* and hence the great luminary itfelf is called 
Koa-fioKpaTO)^ (Ruler of the World) in the Orphic Hymns.'' 

This general emanation of the pervading Spirit of God, by 
which all things are generated and maintained, is beautifully de- 
fcribed by Virgil, in the following lines : 

Deum namque ire per omnes 
Terrafque, traftufque maris, coelumque profundum. 
Hinc pecudes, armenta, viros, genus omne terarum, 
Quemque fibi tenues nafcentem arceflere vitas. 
Scilicet hue reddi deinde, ac refoluta referri 
Omnia : ncc morti efle locum, fed viva volare 
Sideris in numerum, atque alto fuccedere coelo.^ 

1 See Plate ix. Fig. i. 

~ Plate IX. Fig. 2, from Pellerin. Similar medals arc in the Hunter Colledion, 
and are evidently of Phoenician work. 

3 Recherches furies Arts, lib. i. c. 3. ^ Plutarch. Je Is. ft OJtr. 

s See Hymn vii. ^ Georgic. lib. iv. ver. 221. 


The Ethereal Spirit is heredefcribedas expanding itfelf through 
the univerfe, and giving life and motion to the inhabitants of earth, 
water, and air, by a participation of its own effence, each particle 
of which returned to its native fource, at the diflblution of the 
body which it animated. Hence, not only men, but all animals, 
and even vegetables, were fuppofed to be impregnated with fome 
particles of the Divine Nature infufed into them, from which their 
various qualities and difpoiitions, as well as their powers of propaga- 
tion, were fuppofed to be derived. Thefe appeared to be fo many 
emanations of the Divine attributes,operating in different modes and 
degrees, according to the nature of the beings to which they be- 
longed. Hence the charafteriftic properties of animals and plants 
were not only regarded as reprefentations, but as adual emanations 
of the Divine Power, confubftantial with his own effence.^ For 
this reafon, the fymbols were treated with greater refped: and 
veneration than if they had been merely figns and characSters of 
convention. Plutarch fays, that mofl of the Egyptian priefts held 
the bull Apis, who was worshipped with fo much ceremony, to be 
only an image of the Spirit of Ofiris." This I take to have been 
the real meaning of all the animal worfliip of the Egyptians, about 
which fo much has been written, and fo little difcovered. Thofe 
animals or plants, in which any particular attribute of the Deity 
feemed to predominate, became the fymbols of that attribute, and 
were accordingly worfhipped as the images of Divine Providence, 
adling in that particular direction. Like many other cuftoms, both 
of ancient and modern worfhip, the practice, probably, continued 
long after the reafons upon which it was founded were either wholly 
loft, or only partially preferved, in vague traditions. This was the 
cafe in Egypt ; for, though many of the priefts knew or conjectured 
the origin of the worftiip of the bull, they could give no rational 

1 Proclus i?i Theol. Plat. lib. i. pp. 56, 57. ^ De Is. et Os. 


account why the crocodile, the ichneumon, and the ibis, received 
fimilar honours. The fymbolical charadlers, called hieroglyphics, 
continued to be efteemed by them as more holy and venerable than 
the conventional reprefentations of founds, notwithftanding their 
manifeft inferiority; yet it does not appear, from any accounts 
extant, that they were able to affign any reafon for this preference. 
On the contrary, Strabo tells us that the Egyptians of his time were 
wholly ignorant of their ancient learning and religion,^ though 
impoftors continually pretended to explain it. Their ignorance in 
thefe points is not to be wondered at, confidering that the moft 
ancient Egyptians, of whom we have any authentic accounts, lived 
after the fubverfion of their monarchy and deftrudion of their 
temples by the Perfians, who ufed every endeavour to annihilate 
their religion; firft, by command of Cambyfes, ^ and then of 
Ochus. ■' What they were before this calamity, we have no direcft 
information ; for Herodotus is the earlieft traveller, and he vifited 
this country when in ruins. 

It is obfervable in all modern religions, that men are fuper- 
ftitious in proportion as they are ignorant, and that thofe who know 
leaft of the principles of religion are the moft earneft and fervent 
in the practice of its exterior rites and ceremonies. We may 
fuppofe from analogy, that this was the cafe with the Egyptians. 
The learned and rational merely refpeded and revered the facred 
animals, whilft the vulgar worfliipped and adored them. The 
greateft part of the former being, as is natural to fuppofe, deftroyed 
by the perfecution of the Perfians, this worfhip and adoration be- 
came general ; different cities adopting different animals as their 
tutelar deities, in the fame manner as the Catholics now put them- 
felves under the protection of different faints and martyrs. Like 

1 Lib. xvii. 2 Herodot. lib. iii. Strabo, lib. xvii. 

3 Plutarch, de Is. et Os. 


them, too, in the fervency of their devotion for the imaginary 
agent, they forgot the original caufe. 

The cuftom of keeping facred animals as images of the Divine 
attributes, feems once to have prevailed in Greece as well as Egypt; 
for the God of Health was reprefented by a living ferpent at Epi- 
daurus, even in the laft ftage of their religion.^ In general, how- 
ever, they preferred wrought images, not from their fuperiority in 
art, which they did not acquire till after the time of Homer, ^ when 
their theology was entirely corrupted ; but becaufe they had thus 
the means of exprefTing their ideas more fully, by combining feveral 
forms together, and fhowing, not only the Divine attribute, but the 
mode and purpofe of its operation. For inftance ; the celebrated 
bronze in the Vatican has the male organs of generation placed 
upon the head of a cock, the emblem of the fun, fupported by the 
neck and fhoulders of a man. In this compofition they reprefented 
the generative power of the Epw?, the Ofiris, Mithras, or Bacchus, 
whofe centre is the fun, incarnate with man. By the infcription on 
the pedeftal, the attribute thus perfonified, is ftyled 'The Saviour of 
the World [Icorr]^ Koa-fx^) ; a title always venerable, under whatever 
image it be reprefented. ^ 

The Egyptians fhowed this incarnation of the Deity by a lefs 
permanent, though equally expreffive fymbol. At Mendes a living 
goat was kept as the image of the generative power, to whom the 
women prefented themfelves naked, and had the honour of being 
publicly enjoyed by him. Herodotus faw the ad: openly per- 
formed (e9 eTTiSeL^LV av6pa)ir(ov)^ and calls it a prodigy (re/ja?). But 
the Egyptians had no fuch horror of it ; for it was to them a repre- 
fentation of the incarnation of the Deity, and the communication of 

1 Liv. HiJ}. Epitom. lib. xi. 

2 When Homer praifes any work of art, he calls it the work of Sidonians. 

3 See Plate ii. Fig. 3. 


his creative fpirit to man. It was one of the facraments of that 
ancient church, and was, without doubt, beheld with that pious awe 
and reverence with which devout perfons always contemplate the 
myfteries of their faith, whatever they happen to be; for, as the 
learned and orthodox Bifhop Warburton, whofe authority it is not 
for me to difpute, favs, from the nature of any allien morality cannot 
ari/e, nor from its effe^s ;^ therefore, for aught we can tell, this 
ceremony, however fhocking it may appear to modern manners and 
opinions, might have been intrinfically meritorious at the time of 
its celebration, and afforded a truly edifying fpedacle to the faints 
of ancient Egypt. Indeed, the Greeks do not feem to have felt 
much horror or difguft at the imitative reprefentation of it, what- 
ever the hiftorian might have thought proper to exprefs at the real 
celebration. Several fpecimens of their fculpture in this way 
have efcaped the fury of the reformers, and remained for the in- 
ftru(5lion of later times. One of thefe, found among the ruins of 
Herculaneum, and kept concealed in the Royal Mufeum of Portici, 
is well known. Another exifts in the colleftion of Mr. Townley, 
which I have thought proper to have engraved for the benefit of 
the learned.^ It may be remarked, that in thefe monuments the 
goat is pajfive inftead of a^ive ; and that the human fymbol is repre- 
fented as incarnate with the divine^ inftead of the divine with the 
human: but this is in fad; no difference; for the Creator, being of 
both fexes, is reprefented indifferently of either. In the other 
fymbol of the bull, the fex is equally varied ; the Greek medals 
having fometimes a bull, and fometimes a cow,^ which, Strabo tells 
us, was employed as the fymbol of Venus, the paffive generative 
power, at Momemphis, in Egypt.* Both the bull and the cow are 

^ Div. Leg. book i. c. 4. 2 See Plate vii. 

3 See Plate iv. Fig. i, 2, 3, and Plate iii. Fig. 4, engraved from medals belonging 
to me. 

^ Lib. xvii. 



alfo worfhipped at prefent by the Hindoos, as fymbols of the male 
and female, or generative and nutritive, powers of the Deity. The 
cow is in almoft all their pagodas ; but the bull is revered with 
fuperior folemnity and devotion. At Tanjour is a monument of 
their piety to him, which even the inflexible perfeverance, and 
habitual indufl:ry of the natives of that country, could fcarcely 
have ereded without greater knowledge in practical mechanics than 
they now pofTefs. It is a fl:atue of a bull lying down, hewn, with 
great accuracy, out of a Angle piece of hard granite, which has been 
conveyed by land from the diftance of one hundred miles, although 
its weight, in its prefent reduced fliate, muft be at leafl: one hundred 
tons. ^ The Greeks fometimes made their Taurine Bacchus, or 
bull, with a human face, to exprefs both fexes, which they fignified 
by the initial of the epithet Akj^vt]^ placed under him. ^ Over him 
they frequently put the radiated afterifl<:, which reprefents the fun, 
to fhow the Deity, whofe attribute he was intended to exprefs.^ 
Hence we may perceive the reafon why the Germans, who, accord- 
ing to Caefar, * worfhipped the fun, carried a brazen bull, as the 
image of their God, when they invaded the Roman dominions in 
the time of Marius ; ^ and even the chofen people of Providence, 
when they made unto themfelves an image of the God who was 
to condudl them through the defert, and caft out the un- 
godly, from before them, made it in the fhape of a young bull, or 
calf. ' 

The Greeks, as they advanced in the cultivation of the imitative 

1 See Plate xxii. with the meafurements, as made by Capt. Patterfon on the 

2 See Plate iv. Fig. 2, from a medal of Naples in the Hunter colleftion. 

3 See Plate iv. Fig. 2, and Plate xix. Fig. 4, from a medal of Cales, belonging 
to me. 

* De B. G. , lib. vi. ^ Plut. i?i Mario. 

6 Exod. c. xxxii., with Patrick's Commentary. 


arts, gradually changed the animal for the human form, preferving 
ftill the original charader. The human head was at firft added to 
the body of the bull ;^ but afterwards the whole figure was made 
human, with fome of the features, and general charader of the ani- 
mal, blended with it. ^ Oftentimes, however, thefe mixed figures 
had a peculiar and proper meaning, like that of the Vatican 
Bronze ; and were not intended as mere refinements of art. Such 
are the fawns and fatyrs, who reprefent the emanations of the 
Creator, incarnate with man, ading as his angels and minifters in 
the work of univerfal generation. In copulation with the goat, they 
reprefent the reciprocal incarnation of man with the deity, when 
incorporated with univerfal matter : for the Deity, being both male 
and female, was both adive and paffive in procreation ; firft animat- 
ing man by an emanation from his own effence, and then employing 
that emanation to reproduce, in conjundion with the common pro- 
ductive powers of nature, which are no other than his own prolific 
fpirit transfufed through matter. 

Thefe mixed beings are derived from Pan, the principle of uni- 
verfal order ; of whofe perfonified image they partake. Pan is 
addrefled in the Orphic Litanies as thefirft-begotten love, or creator 
incorporated in univerfal matter, and fo forming the world. ^ The 
heaven, the earth, water, and fire are faid to be members of him ; and 
he is defcribed as the origin and fource of all things (7rai'T09L'?/«f 
yeverco^TravTcov), as reprefenting matteranimated by the Divine Spirit. 
Lycaean Pan was the moft ancientand revered God of the Arcadians,* 
the moft ancient people of Greece. The epithet Lycaean (Au/caio?), 
is ufually derived from Xi;/co9, a wolf; though it is impoftible to 

1 See the medals of Naples, Gela, &c. Plate iv. Fig. z. and Plate ix. Fig. i i , are 
fpecimens ; but the coins are in all colleftions. 

2 See Bronzi cP Herculario, torn. v. Plate v. ^ Hymn. x. 
* Dionys. Antiq. Rom. lib. i. c. 32. 


find any relation which this etymology can have with the deities to 

which it is applied ; for the epithet Aw/caio?, or Au/ceio? (which is only 

the different pronunciation of a different dialedl), is occafionally 

applied to almofl all the gods. I have therefore no doubt, but that it 

ought to be derived from the old word Xy/co?, or \vk7], light; from which 

came the Latin word lux} In this fenfe it is a very proper epithet for 

the Divine Nature, of whofe effence light was fuppofed to be. I am 

confirmed in this conjedure by a word in the EleSlra of Sophocles, 

which feems hitherto to have been mifunderflood. At the opening of 

the play, the old tutor of Orefles, entering Argos with his young 

pupil, points out to him the mofl celebrated public buildings, and 

amongft them the Lycaean Forum, t« Xvkoktov^ @eb, which the 

fcholiafl and tranflators interpret, of the wolf-killing God, though 

there is no reafon whatever why this epithet fhould be applied to 

Apollo. But, if we derive the compound from Xwo?, light, and 

€KTeiveLv, to extend, inftead of Kretvetv, to kill, the meaning will be 

perfedly jufl and natural ; for light-extending, is of all others the 

propereft epithet for the fun. Sophocles, as' well as Virgil, is known 

to have been an admirer of ancient exprefrions,and to have imitated 

Homer more than any other Attic Poet ; therefore, his employing 

an obfolete word is not to be wondered at. Taking this etymology 

as the true one, the Lycaean Pan of Arcadia is Pan the luminous ; 

that is, the divine efTence of light incorporated in univerfal matter. 

The Arcadians called him rov r?;? vXrj^ Kvptov, the lord of matter, as 

Macrobius rightly tranflates it.- He was hence called Sylvanus by 

the Latins ; Syha being, in the ancient Pelafgian and iEolian 

Greek, from which the Latin is derived, the fame as vXtj; for it is 

well known to all who have compared the two languages attentively, 

that the Sigma and Fau are letters, the one of which was partially, 

and the other generally omitted by the Greeks, in the refinement of 

1 Macrob. Sai. xvii. ^ Sat. i. c. 22. 


their pronunciation and orthography which took place after the 
emigration of the Latian and Etrufcan .colonies. The Chorus in the 
yf/^x- of Sophocles addrefs Pan by the title of 'A\t7r\a7/cT09,' probably 
becaufe he was worfliipped on the fhores of the fea ; water being 
reckoned the beft and moft prolific of the fubordinate elements,- 
upon which the Spirit of God, according to Mofes, or the Plaftic 
Nature, according to the Platonics, operating, produced life and 
motion on earth. Hence the ocean is faid by Homer to be the 
fource of all things;^ and hence the ufe of water in baptifm, 
which was to regenerate, and, in a manner, new create the perfon 
baptifed ; for the foul, fuppofed by many of the primitive Chrif- 
tians to be naturally mortal, was then fuppofed to become im- 
mortal."* Upon the fame principle, the figure of Pan,'' is reprefented 
pouring water upon the organ of generation; that is, invigorating 
the adive creative power by the prolific element upon which it 
aded; for water was confidered as the efl'ence of the pafiive prin- 
ciple, as fire was of the adive; the one being of terreftrial, and the 
other of aethereal origin. Hence, St. John the Baptift, who might 
have acquired fome knowledge of the ancient theology, through its 
revivers, the Ecledic Jews, fays : /, indeed^ baptije you in water to 
repentance ; but he that cometh after me^ who is more powerful than 
I am^JJiall baptife you in the Holy Spirit^ and in fire f' that is, I only 
purify and refrefh the foul, by a communion with the terreftrial 
principle of life ; but he that cometh after me, will regenerate and 
reftore it, by a communion with the ethereal principle.'^ Pan is 

1 Ver, 703. ^ Pindar. Olynp. i. ver. i. Diodor. Sic. lib. i. p. 11. 

3 II. ^, ver. 246, and <^, ver. 196. 
•* Clementina, Horn. xii. Arnob. adv. Gctitcs, lib. ii. 

^ See Plate v. Fig. i. The original is among the antiquities found in Hercu- 
laneum, nowf in the Mufeum of Portici. 

•^ Matth. c. iii. 

■^ It is the avowed intention of the learned and excellent work of Grotius, to prove 
that there is nothing new in Chriftianity. What I have here adduced, may ferve to 


again addreffed in the Salaminian Chorus of the fame tragedy of 
Sophocles, by the titles of author and diredor of the dances of the 
gods {®e(t)v xopoTTot' ava^), as being the author and difpofer of the 
regular motions of the univerfe, of which thefe divine dances were 
fymbols, which are faid in the fame pafTage to be {avroSar]) Jelf- 
taught to him. Both the Gnoffian and Nyfian dances are here in- 
cluded, ^ the former facred to Jupiter, and the latter to Bacchus ; 
for Pan, being the principle of univerfal order, partook of the 
nature of all the other gods. They were perfonifications of parti- 
cular modes of afting of the great all-ruling principle; and he, of 
his general law and pre-eftablifhed harmony by which he governs 
the univerfe. Hence he is often reprefented playing on a pipe ; mufic 
being the natural emblem of this phyfical harmony. According to 
Plutarch, the Jupiter Ammon of the Africans was the fame as the 
Pan of the Greeks. ^ This explains the reafon why the Macedonian 
kings affumed the horns of that god ; for, though Alexander pre- 
tended to be his fon, his fuccelTors never pretended to any fuch 
honour ; and yet they equally affumed the fymbols, as appears from 
their medals.^ The cafe is, that Pan, or Ammon, being the univerfe, 
and Jupitera title of the Supreme God (as will be fhown hereafter), the 
horns, the emblems of his power, feemed the propereft fymbols of 
that fupreme and univerfal dominion to which they all, as well as 
Alexander, had the ambition to afpire. The figure of Ammon was 
compounded of the forms of the ram, as that of Pan was of the 
goat ; the reafon of which is difficult to afcertain, unlefs we fuppofe 

confirm and illuilrate the difcoveries of that great and good man. See de Veritate 
Relig. Chrift. lib. iv, c. 12. 

1 Ver. 708. '^ De If. et Of. 

3 See Plate iv. Fig 4, engraved from one of Lyfimachus, of exquifite beauty, 
belonging to me. Antigonus put the head of Pan upon his coins, which are not 


that c;oats were unknown in the country where his worfhip arofe, 
and that the ram exprefTed the ilimc attribute.^ In a gcni in the 
Mufeum of Charles Townley, Efq., the head of the Greek Pan is 
joined to that of a ram, on the body of a cock, over whofe head is 
the afterifk of the fun, and below it the head of an aquatic fowl, 
attached to the fame body.'' The cock is the fymbol of the fun, 
probably from proclaiming his approach in the morning ; and the 
aquatic fowl is the emblem of water ; fo that this compofition, 
apparently fo whimfical, reprefents the univerfe between the two great 
prolific elements, the one the aftive, and the other the pafiivecaufe 
of all things. 

The Creator being both male and female, the emanations of his 
creative fpirit, operating upon univerfal matter, produced fubordi- 
nate minifters of both fexes, and gave, as companions to thetauns 
and fatyrs, the nymphs of the waters, the mountains and the woods, 
fignifying the paffive productive powers of each, fubdivided and 
diffufed. Of the fame clafs are the T^vervWihe^, mentioned by Pau- 
flmias as companions to Venus,'' who, as well as Ceres, Juno, Diana, 
Ifis, &:c., was only a perfonificationof nature, or thepafTive principle 
of generation, operating in various modes. Apuleius invokes Ifis 
by the names of the Eleufinian Ceres, Celeft:ial Venus, and Profer- 
pine; and, when the Goddefs anfwers him, fiie defcribes herfelf as 
follows : " I am," fays flie, "nature, the parent of things, the fove- 
reign of the elements, the primary progeny of time, the mofi: exalted 
of the deities, the firfi: of the heavenly Gods and Goddefi^es, the queen 
of the fliades, the uniform countenance ; who difpofe, with my nod, 
the luminous heigjhts of heaven, the falubrious breezes of the fea, 
and the mournful filence of the dead ; whofe fingle Deity the whole 

1 Paufanias (lib. ii. ) fays he knew the meaning of this fymbol, but did not choofe 
to reveal it, it being a part of the myilic worfhip. 

2 Plate III. Fig. i. ^ Lib. i. 


world venerates, in many forms, with various rites, and various 
names. The Egyptians, fkilled in ancient learning, worfhip me 
with proper ceremonies, and call me by my true name, Queen Ifis."^ 
According to the Egyptians, Ifis copulated with her brother 
Ofiris in the womb of their mother ; from whence fprung Arueris, 
or Orus, the Apollo of the Greeks.^ This allegory means no more 
than that the adlive and paffive powers of creation united in the 
womb of night; where they had been implanted by the unknown 
father, K/oofo?, or time, and by their union produced the feparation 
or delivery of the elements from each other; for the name Apollo is 
only a title derived from a7ro\v(o, to deliver from? They made therobes 
of Ifis various in their colours and complicated in their folds, becaufe 
the pafTive or material power appeared in various fhapes and modes, 
as accommodating itfelf to the adive ; but the drefs of Ofiris was 
fimple, and of one luminous colour, to fhowthe unity of his effence, 
and univerfality of his power; equally the fame through all things.* 
The luminous, or flame colour, reprefented the fun, who, in the 
language of the theologifts, was the fubftance of his facred povv'er, 
and the viflble image of his intelledual being.'' He is called, in the 
Orphic Litanies, the chain which connects all things together (o V 
aveSpafxe 86a/jio<; aTravTcov,^ as being the principle of attraction ; and 
the deliverer (Xvcno'i)^'' as giving liberty to the innate powers of 
nature, and thus fertilifing matter. Thefe epithets not only exprefs 
the theological, but alfo the phyfical fyfl:em of the Orphic fchool ; 
according to which the fun, being placed in the centre of the 

1 Metamorph. lib. xi. ^ Plutarch, de If. et Of. ^ Damm. Lex. Etym. 

4 Plutarch, de If. et Of. ^ Ibid. ^ Hymn. xlvi. 

"^ Hymn. xlix. the initials of this epithet are with the bull on a medal of Naples 
belonging to me. The bull has a human countenance, and has therefore been called 
a minotaur by antiquarians ; notwithllanding he is to be found on different medals, 
accompanied with all the fymbols both of Bacchus and Apollo, and with the initials 
of moft of the epithets to be found in the Orphic Litanies. 


univerfe, with the planets moving round, was, by his attradive 
force, the caufe of all union and harmony in the whole; and, by the 
emanation of his beams, the caufe of all motion and aftivity in the 
parts. This fyftem is alluded to by Homer in the allegory of the 
golden chain, by which Jupiter fufpends all things;^ though there 
is every reafon to believe that the poet himfelf was ignorant of its 
meaning, and only related it as he had heard it. The Ammonian 
Platonics adopted the fame fyftem of attraction, but changed its 
centre from the fun to their metaphyfical abftradion or incompre- 
henfible unity, whofe emanations pervaded all things, and held all 
things together.^ 

Befides the Fauns, Satyrs, and Nymphs, the incarnate emana- 
tions of the adive and paftive powers of the Creator, we often find 
in the ancient fculptures certain androgynous beings poffefled of the 
charadleriftic organs of both fexes, which I take to reprefent 
organized matter in its firft ftage ; that is, immediately after it was 
releafed from chaos, and before it was animated by a participation 
of the ethereal eflence of the Creator. In a beautiful gem belonging 
to R. Wilbraham, Efq.,^ one of thefe androgynous figures is repre- 
fented fleeping, with the organs of generation covered, and the egg 
of chaos broken under it. On the other fide is Bacchus the Crea- 
tor, bearing a torch, the emblem of ethereal fire, and extending it 
towards the fieeping figure; whilft one of his agents feems only to 
wait his permifTion to begin the execution of that ofiice, which, 
according to every outward and vifible fign, he appears able to 
difcharge with energy and efFeft. The Creator himfelf leans upon 
oneofthofe figures commonly called Sileni ; but which, from their 
heavy unwieldy forms, were probably intended as perfonifications 
of brute inert matter, from which all things are formed, but which, 

1 II. €), ver. xix. 2 Proclus in Theol. Plat. lib. i. c. 21. 

' See Plate v. Fig. 3. 


being incapable of producing any thing of itfelf, is properly repre- 
fented as the fupport of the creative power, though not adively 
inftrumental in his work. The total baldnefs of this figure repre- 
fents the exhaufted, unprodudive ftate of matter, when the genera- 
tive powers were feparated from it ; for it was an opinion of the 
ancients, which I remember to have met with in fome part of the 
works of Ariftotle, to which I cannot at prefent refer, that every 
ad of coition produced a tranfient chill in the brain, by which fome 
of the roots of the hair were loofened ; fo that baldnefs was a mark 
of fterility acquired by exceffive exertion. The figures of Pan have 
nearly the fame forms with that which I have here fuppofed to 
reprefent inert matter ; only that they are compounded with thofe 
of the goat, the fymbol of the creative power, by which matter was 
frudified and regulated. To this is fometimes added the organ of 
generation, of an enormous magnitude, to fignify the application of 
this power to its nobleft end, the procreation of fenfitive and 
rational beings. This compofition forms the common Priapus of 
the Roman poets, who was worfhipped among the other perfonages 
of the heathen mythology, but underftood by few of his ancient 
votaries any better than by the good women of Ifernia. His charac- 
teriftic organ is fometimes reprefented by the artifts in that ftate of 
tenfion and rigidity, which it aftumes when about to difcharge its 
fundions,^ and at other times in that ftate of tumid languor, which 
immediately fucceeds the performance.^ In the latter cafe he 
appears loaded with the produdions of nature, the refult of thofe 
prolific efforts, which in the former cafe he appeared fo well quali- 
fied to exert. I have in Plate v. given a figure of him in each 
fituation, one taken from a bronze in the Royal Mufeum of Portici, 
and the other from one in that of Charles Townley, Efq. It may 

1 Plate V. Fig. i, from a bronze in the Mufeum at Portici. 

2 Plate V. Fig. z, from a bronze in the Mufeum of C. Townley, Efq. 


be obferved, that in the former the mufcles of the face are all 
ftrained and contraded, fo that every nerve feems to be in a ftate of 
tenfion ; whereas in the latter the features are all dilated and fallen, 
the chin repofed on the breaft, and the whole figure expreflive of 
languor and tatigue. 

If the explanation which I have given of thefe androgynous 
figures be the true one, the fauns and faytrs, which ufually accompany 
them, muft reprefent abfiiradl emanations, and not incarnations of the 
creative fpirit, as when in copulation with the goat. The Creator 
himfelf is frequently reprefented in a human form ; and it is natural 
that his emanations fhould partake of the fame, though without 
having any thing really human in their compofition. It feems 
however to have been the opinion in fome parts of Afia, that the 
Creator was really of a human form. The Jewifh legiflator fays 
exprefsly, that God made man in his own image, and, prior to the 
creation of woman, created him male and female^ as he himfelf con- 
fequently was.''^ Hence an ingenious author has fuppofed that thefe 
androgynous figures reprefented the firft individuals of the human 
race, who, pofTefTing the organs of both fexes, produced children of 
each. This feems to be the fenfe in which they were reprefented 
by fome of the ancient artifts ; but I have never met with any trace 
of it in any Greek author, except Philo the Jew; nor have I ever 
feen any monument of ancient art, in which the Bacchus, or Creator 
in a human form, was reprefented with the generative organs of 
both fexes. In the fymbolical images, the double nature is fre- 
quently expreffed by fome androgynous infedl, fuch as the fnail, 
which is endowed with the organs of both fexes, and can copulate 
reciprocally with either: but when the refinement of art adopted 
the human form, it was reprefented by mixing the charaders of the 

1 Genes, c. i. ^ Philo. Je. Leg. Alleg. lib. ii. 


male and female bodies in every part, preferving ftill the diftindive 
organs of the male. Hence Euripides calls Bacchus 6r]\v/j.op(l>o^,^ 
and the Chorus of Bacchanals in the fame tragedy addrefs him by 
mafculine and feminine epithets." Ovid alfo fays to him, 

Tibi, cum fine cornibus adflas, 

Virgineum caput eft. ^ 

alluding in the firft line to his taurine, and in the fecond to his 
androgynous figure. 

The ancient theologifts were, like the modern, divided into feds; 
but, as thefe never difturbed the peace of fociety, they have been 
very little noticed. I have followed what I conceive to be the true 
Orphic fyftem, in the little analyfis which I have here endeavoured 
to give. This was probably the true catholic faith, though it differs 
confiderably from another ancient fyftem,defcribed by Ariftophanes;* 
which is more poetical, but lefs philofophical. According to this, 
Chaos,Night,Erebus,andTartarus,were the primitivebeings. Night, 
in the infinite breaft of Erebus, brought forth an egg, from which 
fprung Love, who mixed all things together; and from thence fprung 
the heaven, the ocean, the earth, and the gods. This fyftem is 
alluded to by the epithet nojevo'?, applied to the Creator in one of the 
Orphic Litanies:^ but this could never have been a part of the 
orthodox faith ; for the Creator is ufually reprefented as breaking 
the egg of chaos, and therefore could not have fprung from it. In 
the confufed medley of allegories and traditions contained in the 
Theogony attributed to Hefiod, Love is placed after Chaos and the 
Earth, but anterior to every thing elfe. Thefe differences are not 
to be wondered at; for Ariftophanes, fuppofing that he underftood 
the true fyftem, could not with fafety have revealed it, or even 
mentioned it any otherwife than under the ufual garb of fidion and 

1 Bach. V. 3 5 8. 2 ^ B/30/*ie, Bpofite, UeBcovx^dovof evoat iroTVia. Vers. 504. 
3 Metam. lib, iv. v. 18. ^ Opvi6. Vers. 693. ^ Hymn v. 


allegory ; and as for the author of the Theogony, it is evident, from 
the ftrange jumble of incoherent fables which he has put together, 
that he knew very little of it. The fyftem alluded to in the Orphic 
verfes quoted in the Argonautics^ is in all probability the true one ; 
for it is not only confident in all its parts, but contains a phyfical 
truth, which the greateft of the modern difcoveries has only con- 
firmed and explained. The others feem to have been only poetical 
corruptions of it, which, extending by degrees, produced that un- 
wieldy fyftem of poetical mythology, which conftituted the vulgar 
religion of Greece. 

The fauns and fatyrs, which accompany the androgynous figures 
on the ancient fculptures, are ufually reprefented as miniftering to 
the Creator by exerting their charafteriftic attributes upon them, as 
well as upon the nymphs, the paftive agents of procreation : but 
what has puzzled the learned in thefe monuments, and feems a 
contradidion to the general fyftem of ancient religion, is that many 
of thefe groups are in attitudes which are rather adapted to the grati- 
fication of difordered and unnatural appetites, than to extend pro- 
creation. But a learned author, who has thrown infinite light upon 
thefe fubjeds, has effedually cleared them from this fufpicion, by 
{bowing that they only took the moft convenient way to get at the 
female organs of generation, in thofe mixed beings who poftefl"ed 
both. ^ This is confirmed by Lucretius, who aflerts, that this attitude 
is better adapted to the purpofes of generation than any other." We 
may therefore conclude, that inftead of reprefenting them in the ad: 
of gratifying any disorderly appetites, theartifts meant to ftiow their 
modefty in not indulging their concupifcence, but in doing their 
duty in the way beft adapted to anfwer the ends propofed by the 

On the Greek medals, where the cow is the fymbol of the deity, 

1 Recberchei fur les Arts, liv. i. c. 3. "^ Lib. iv. v. 1260. 


fhe is frequently reprefented licking a calf, which is fucking her.^ 
This is probably meant to fhow that the creative power cheriilies 
and nourillies, as well as generates ; for, as all quadrupeds lick their 
young, to refrefh and invigorate them immediately after birth, it is 
natural to fuppofe, according to the general fyftem of fymbolical 
writing, that this adion fhould be taken as an emblem of the effed 
it was thought to produce. On other medals the bull or cow is 
reprefented licking itfelf;- which, upon the fame principle, muft 
reprefent the ftrength of the deity refrefhed and invigorated by the 
exertion of its own nutritive and plaftic power upon its own being. 
On others again is a human head of an androgynous charafter, like 
that of the Bacchus Sicpv-r)^, with the tongue extended over the lower 
lip, as if to lick fomething.^ This was probably the fame fymbol, 
expreffed in a lefs explicit manner; it being the common praftice 
of the Greek artifts to make a part of a compofition fignify the 
whole, ofwhich I fhall foon have occafion to give fome inconteftable 
examples. On a Parian medal publifhed by Goltzius, the bull lick- 
ing himfelf is reprefented on one fide, accompanied by the afterifk 
of the fun, and on the other, the head with the tongue extended, 
having ferpents, the emblems of life, for hair.^ The fame medal is 
in my coUedion, except that the ferpents are not attached to the 
head, but placed by it as diftind fymbols, and that the animal lick- 
ing itfelf is a female accompanied by the initial of the word @eo9, 
inftead of the afterifk of the fun. Antiquarians have called this head 
a Medufa; but, had they examined it attentively on any well- 
preferved coin, they would have found that the expreffion of the 
features means luft, and not rage or horror.^ The cafe is, that 

1 See Plate iv. Fig. 3, from a medal of Dyrrachium, belonging to me. 
~ See Plate iii. Fig. 5, from one of Gortyna, in the Hunter Colleftion ; and 
Plate III. Fig. 4, from one of Parium, belonging to me. 

3 See Plate iii. Fig. 4, and Plate in. Fig. 6, from Pellerin. 

* Goltz. I;i/u/. Tab. xix. Fig. 8. ^ See Plate in. Fig. 4. 


antiquarians have been continually led into error, by feeking for 
explanations of the devices on the Greek medals in the wild and 
capricious ftories of Ovid's Metamorphojes, inftead of examining the 
firft principles ofancient religion contained intheOrphic Fragments, 
the writings of Plutarch, Macrobius, and Apuleius, and the Choral 
Odes of the Greek tragedies. Thefe principles were the fubjedls of 
the ancient myfteries, and it is to thefe that the fymbols on the 
medals always relate ; for they were the public ads of the ftates, 
and therefore contain the fenfe of nations, and not the caprices of 

As M.D'Hancarville found a complete reprefentation of the bull 
breaking the egg of chaos in the fculptures of the Japanefe, when 
only a part of it appears on the Greek monuments ; fo we may find 
in a curious Oriental fragment, lately brought from the facred 
caverns of Elephanta, near Bombay, a complete reprefentation of 
the fymbol fo enigmatically exprefTed by the head above mentioned. 
Thefe caverns are ancient places of worfbip, hewn in the folid rock 
with immenfe labour and difficulty. That from which the fragment 
in queftion was brought, is 130 feet long by no wide, adorned 
with columns and fculptures finifhed in a ftyle very different from 
that of the Indian artifts.^ It is now negleded ; but others of the 
fame kind are ftill ufed as places of worfhip by the Hindoos, who 
can give no account of the antiquity of them, which muft neceffarily 
be very remote, for the Hindoos are a very ancient people ; and yet 
the fculptures reprefent a race of men very unlike them, or any of 
the prefent inhabitants of India. A fpecimen of thefe was brought 
from the ifland of Elephanta, in the Cumberland man-of-war, and 
now belongs to the mufeum of Mr. Townley. It contains feveral 
figures, in very high relief; the principal of which are a man and 
woman, in an attitude which I fhall not venture to defcribe, but only 

1 Archoeol, vol. viii. p. 289. 


obferve, that the adion, which I have Tuppofed to be a fymbol of 
refrefhment and invigoration, is mutually applied by both to their 
refpedive organs of generation/ the emblems of the aftive and 
paflive powers of procreation, which mutually cherifh and invigorate 
each other. 

The Hindoos ftill reprefent the creative powers of the deity by 
thefe ancient fymbols, the male and female organs of generation; 
and worfhip them with the fame pious reverence as the Greeks and 
Egyptians did.'^ Like them too they have buried the original prin- 
ciples of their theology under a mafs of poetical mythology, fo that 
few of them can give any more perfed account of their faith, than 
that they mean to worfhip one firft caufe, to whom the fubordinate 
deitiesare merely agents, or moreproperlyperfonified modes of a(5lion^ 
This is the doftrine inculcated, and very fully explained, in the 
Bagvat Geeta; a moral and metaphyfical work lately tranflated from 
the Sanfcrit language, and faid to have been written upwards of 
four thoufand years ago. Krefhna, or the deity become incarnate 
in the fhape of man, in order to inftrud all mankind, is introduced, 
revealing to his difciples the fundamental principles of true faith, 
religion, and wifdom ; which are the exad: counterpart of the fyftem 
of emanations, fo beautifully defcribed in the lines of Virgil before 
cited. We here find, though in a more myftic garb, the fame one 
principle of life univerfally emanated and expanded, and ever par- 
tially returning to be again abforbed in the infinite abyfs of intelledlual 
being. This reabforption, which is throughout recommended as 
the ultimate end of human perfeftion, can only be obtained by a 
life of inward meditation and abftra(fl thought, too fteady to be 
interrupted by any worldly incidents, or difturbed by any tranfitory 
affed:ions,whether of mind or body. But as fuch a life is not in the 

1 See Plate xi. ^ Sonnerat, Voyage aux Indes, T. I. p. 1 80. 

3 Niebuhr, Voyages, vol. 11. p. 17. 


power of any but a Brahman, inferior rewards, confifting of gradual 
advancements durintj; the tranfmigrations oi the foul, are held out 
to the foldier, the huOundman, and mechanic, accordingly as they 
fulfill the duties of their feveral ftations. Even thofe who ferve 
other G;ods are not excluded from the benefits awarded to every 
moral virtue; for, as the divine Teacher fays, If they do it with a 
firm belief, in Jo doing they involuntarily worjhip even me. 1 am he 
who partaketh of all worjhip, and I am their reward} This uni- 
verfal deity, being the caufe of all motion, is alike the caufe of 
creation, prefervation, and deftru(5lion ; which three attributes are 
all expreffed in the myftic fy liable om. To repeat this in filence, 
with firm devotion, and immoveable attention, is the fureft means 
of perfedion,^ and confequent reabforption, fince it leads to the 
contemplation oftheDeity, in his three great characfleriftic attributes. 
Thefirftandgreateft of thefe, the creative or generative attribute, 
feefns to have been originally reprefented by the union of the male 
and female organs of generation,which, under the title of the iJngam, 
ftill occupies the central and moft interior recefies of their temples 
or pagodas ; and is alfo worn, attached to bracelets, round their 
necks and arms.' In a little portable temple brought from the 
Rohilla country during the late war,and now in theBritifh Mufeum, 
this compofition appears mounted on a pedeftal, in the midft of a 
fquare area, funk in a block of white alabafter.' Round the pedeftal 
is a ferpent, the emblem of life, with his head refted upon his tail, 
to denote eternity, or the conftant return of time upon itfelt, whilft 
it flows through perpetual duration, in regular revolutions and 
ftated periods. From under the body of the ferpent fprings the 
lotus or water lily, the Nelumbo of Linnaeus, which overfpreads 
the whole of the area not occupied by the figures at the corners. 

1 Bagvat Geeta, p. 8l. 2 Ihid. p. 74. 

3 Sonnerat, l^oyage aux Indes, liv. ii. p. 180. Planche liv. •* See Plate xii. 



This plant grows in the water, and, amongft its broad leaves, puts 
forth a flower, in the centre of which is formed the feed-vefl'el, 
fhaped like a bell or inverted cone, and punctuated on the top with 
little cavities or cells, in which the feeds grow/ The orifices of 
thefe cells being too fmall to let the feeds drop out when ripe, they 
flioot forth into new plants, in the places where they were formed ; 
the bulb of the vefl^el ferving as a matrice to nourilh them, until 
they acquire fuch a degree of magnitude as to burft it open and 
releafe themfelves ; after which, like other aquatic weeds, they take 
root wherever the current depofits them. This plant therefore, 
being thus produCtiveofitfelf, and vegetating from its own matrice, 
without being foftered in the earth, was naturally adopted as the 
fymbol of the productive power of the waters, upon which the 
aftive fpirit of the Creator operated in giving life and vegetation 
to matter. We accordingly find it employed in every part of the 
northern hemifphere, where the fymbolical religion, improperly 
called idolatry, does or ever did prevail. The facred images of 
the Tartars, Japonefe, and Indians, are almoft all placed upon it; 
of which numerous infl:ances occur in the publications of Kaempfer, 
Chappe D'Auteroche, and Sonnerat. The upper part of the bafe 
of the Lingam alfo confifl:s of this flower, blended and compofed 
with the female organ of generation which it fupports : and the 
ancient author of the Bagvat Geeta fpeaks of the creator Brahma 
as fitting upon his lotus throne.^ The figures of Ifis, upon the 
Ifiac Table, hold the fl:em of this plant, furmounted by the feed- 
vefl'el in one hand, and the crofs,^ reprefenting the male organs of 
generation, in the other ; thus fignifying the univerfal power, both 
adive and paflive, attributed to that goddefs. On the fame Ifiac 
Table is alfo the reprefentation of an Egyptian temple, the columns 
of which are exadly like the plant which Ifis holds in her hand, 

1 See Plate xx. Fig. i. ^ Page 91. 

3 See Plate xviil. Fig. 2, from Pignorius. 


except that the ftem is made larger, in order to give it that ftability 
which is neceflary to fupport a roof and entablature.^ Columns 
and capitals of the fame kind are ftill exifting, in great numbers, 
among the ruins of Thebes, in Egypt; and more particularly upon 
thofe very curious ones in the ifland of Philae, on the borders of 
Ethiopia, which are, probably, the moft ancient monuments of art 
now extant; at leaft, if we except the neighbouring temples of 
Thebes. Both were certainly built when that city was the feat of 
wealth and empire, which it was, even to a proverb, during the 
Trojan war.^ How long it had then been fo, we can form no con- 
jedure; but that it foon after declined, there can be little doubt; 
for, when the Greeks, in the reign of Pfammeticus (generally 
computed to have been about 530 years after the Siege of Troy), 
firft became perfonally acquainted with the interior parts of that 
country, Memphis had been for many ages its capital, and Thebes 
was in a manner deferted. Homer makes Achilles fpeak of its 
immenfe wealth and grandeur, as a matter generally known and 
acknowledged; fo that it muft have been of long eftablifhed fame, 
even in that remote age. We may therefore fairly conclude, that 
the greateft part of the fuperb edifices now remaining, were executed, 
or at leaft begun, before that time; many of them being fuch as 
could not have been finiftied, but in a long term of years, even if 
we fuppofe the wealth and power of the ancient kings of Egypt 
to have equalled that of the greateft of the Roman emperors. 
The finiftiing of Trajan's column in three years, has been juftly 
thought a very extraordinary effort ; for there muft have been, at 
leaft, three hundred good fculptors employed upon it: and yet, in 
the neighbourhood of Thebes, we find whole temples of enormous 
magnitude, covered with figures carved in the hard and brittle 
granite of the Libyan mountains, inftead of the foft marbles of 

' See Plate xviii. Fig. i, from Pignorius. ^ Horn. Iliati. i, ver. 381. 



Paros and Carrara. Travellers, who have vifited that country have 
given us imperfeft accounts of the manner in which they are 
finifhed; but, if one may judge by thofe upon the obelifc of Ram- 
efes, now lying in fragments at Rome, they are infinitely more 
laboured than thofe of Trajan's Column. An eminent fculptor, 
with whom I examined that obelifc, was decidedly of opinion, that 
they muft have been finifhed in the manner of gems, with a grav- 
ing tool ; it appearing Impoffible for a chifel to cut red granite with 
fo much neatnefs and precifion. The age of Ramefes is uncertain ; 
but the generality of modern chronologers fuppofe that he was the 
fame perfon as Sefoftris, and reigned at Thebes about 1500 years 
before the Chriftian sera, and about 300 before the Siege of Troy. 
Their dates are however merely conjectural, when applied to events 
of this remote antiquity. The Egyptian priefts of the Auguftan 
age had a tradition, which they pretended to confirm by records, 
written in hieroglyphics, that their country had once poffeft the 
dominion of all Afia and Ethiopia, which their king Ramfes, or 
Ramefes, had conquered.'^ Though this account may be exagge- 
rated, there can be no doubt, from the buildings fl:ill remaining, 
but that they were once at the head of a great empire; for all hif- 
torians agree that they abhorred navigation, had no fea-port, and 
never enjoyed the benefits of foreign commerce, without which, 
Egypt could have no means of acquiring a fufficient quantity of 
fuperfluous wealth to eredfuch expenfive monuments, unlefs from 
tributary provinces ; efpecially if all the lower part of it was an 
uncultivated bog, as Herodotus, with great appearance of prob- 
ability, tells us it anciently was. Yet Homer, who appears to have 
known all that could be known in his age, and tranfmitted to pof- 
terity all he knew, feems to have heard nothing of their empire or 
conquefts. Thefe were obliterated and forgotten by the rife of 

1 Tacit. An/i. lib. ii. c. 60. 


new empires; but the renown of their ancient wealth ftill con- 
tinued, and afforded a familiar objed of comparifon, as that of the 
Mogul does at this day, though he is become one of the pooreft 
fovereigns in the world. 

But far as thefe Egyptian remains lead us into unknown ages, 
the fymbols they contain appear not to have been invented in that 
country, but to have been copied from thofe of fome other people, 
ftill anterior, who dwelt on the other fide of the Erythraean ocean. 
One of the moft obvious of them is the hooded fnake, which is a 
reptile peculiar to the fouth-eaftern parts of Afia, but which I 
found reprefented, with great accuracy, upon the obelifc of Ramefes, 
and have alfo obferved frequently repeated on the Ifiac Table, and 
other fymbolical works of the Egyptians. It is alfo diftinguifhable 
among the fculptures in the facred caverns of the ifland ot Ele- 
phanta ; ^ and appears frequently added, as a charafteriftic fymbol, 
to many of the idols of the modern Hindoos, whofe abfurd tales 
concerning its meaning are related at length by M. Sonnerat ; but 
they are not worth repeating. Probably we fhould be able to trace 
the connexion through many more inftances, could we obtain accu- 
rate drawings of the ruins of Upper Egypt. 

By comparing the columns which the Egyptians formed in 
imitation of the Nelumbo plant, with each other, and obferving 
their different modes of decorating them, we may difcover the 
origin of that order of architedure which the Greeks called Corin- 
thian, from the place of its fuppofed invention. We firft find the 
plain bell, or feed-vefTel, ufed as a capital, without any further alter- 
ation than being a little expanded at bottom, to give it {lability. '■^ 
In the next inftance, the fame feed-veflel is furrounded by the leaves 
of fome other plant ;^ which is varied in different capitals according 

1 Niehuhr, Voyage, vol. ii. ^ See Plate xix. Fig. 6, from Norden. 

3 See Plate xix. Fig. 7, Worn Norden. 


to the different meanings intended to be expreffed by thefe addi- 
tional fymbols. The Greeks decorated it in the fame manner, with 
the leaves of the acanthus, and other forts of foliage ; whilft various 
other fymbols of their religion were introduced as ornaments on the 
entablature, inftead of being carved upon the walls of the cell, or 
fhafts of the columns. One of thefe, which occurs moft frequently, 
is that which the architeds call the honey-fuckle, but which, as Sir 
Jofeph Banks (to whom I am indebted for all that I have faid con- 
cerning the Lotus) clearly fhewed me,muft be meant for the young 
fhoots of this plant, viewed horizontally, juft when they have burft 
the feed-veffel, and are upon the point of falling out of it. The 
ornament is varioufly compofed on different buildings ; it being the 
pradice of the Greeks to make vegetable, as well as animal mon- 
fters, by combining different fymbolical plants together, and blend- 
ing them into one; whence they are often extremely difficult to be 
difcovered. But the fpecimen I have given, is fo ftrongly charader- 
ifed, that it cannot eafily be miftaken.^ It appears on many Greek 
medals with the animal fymbols and perfonified attributes of the 
Deity; which firft led me to imagine that it was not a mere orna- 
ment, but had fome myftic meaning, as almoft every decoration 
employed upon their facred edifices indifputably had. 

The fquare area, over which the Lotus is fpread, in the Indian 
monument before mentioned, was occafionally floated with water; 
which, by means of a forcing machine, was firft thrown in a fpout 
upon the Lingam. The pouring of water upon the facred fymbols, 
is a mode of worfhip very much pradifed by the Hindoos, par- 
ticularly in their devotions to the Bull and the Lingam. Its mean- 
ing has been already explained, in the infl:ance of the Greek figure 
of Pan, reprefented in the ad: of paying the fame kind of worffiip 
to the fymbol of his own procreative power.^ The areas of the 

1 Plate XIX. Fig. 3, from the Ionian Antiquities, Ch. ii. PI. xiii. 

2 See Plate v. Fig. 1. 


Greek temples were, in like manner, in fome inftances, floated with 
water; of which I fliall foon give an example. We alfo find, not 
unfrequently, little portable temples, nearly of the fame form, and 
of Greek workmanfliip : the areas of which were equally floated 
by means of a fountain in the middle, and which, by the figures in 
relief that adorn the fides, appear evidently to have been dedicated 
to the fame worfhip of Priapus, or the Lingam} The fquare area 
is likewife imprefled upon many ancient Greek medals, fometimes 
divided into four, and fometimes into a greater number of com- 
partments." Antiquarians have fuppofed this to be merely the im- 
preflion of fomething put under the coin, to make it receive the 
fl:roke of the die more fl:eadily ; but, befides that it is very ill 
adapted to this purpofe, we find many coins which appear, evidently, 
to have received the fl:roke of the hammer (for fl:riking with a 
balance is of late date) on the fide marked with this fquare. But 
what puts the quefliion out of all doubt, is, that impreflions of 
exadlly the fame kind are found upon the little Talifmans, or 
myfliic pafi:es, taken out of the Egyptian Mummies, which have 
no imprefiion whatever on the reverfe.'' On a little brafs medal of 
Syracufe, \ye alfo find the afterifc of the Sun placed in the centre 
of the fquare, in the fame manner as the Lingam is on the Indian 
monument.'^ Whv this quadrangular form was adopted, in prefer- 
ence to any other, we have no means of difcovering, from any 
known Greek or Egyptian fculptures; but from this little Indian 
temple, we find that the four corners were adapted to four of the 

1 See Plate xiv. from one in the colleftion of Mr. Townley. 

2 See Plate xiii. Fig. i, from one of Sclinus, and Fig. 3, from one of Syracufe, 
belonging to me. 

3 See Plate xiii. Fig. 2, from one in the colleftion of Mr. Townley, 

^ See Plate XIII. Fig. 3. The medal is extremely common, and the quadrangular 
imprefTion is obfcrvable upon a great number of the more ancient Greek medals, gene- 
rally with fome fymbol of the Deity in the centre. See thofe of Athens, Lyttus, 
Maronea, &c. 


fubordinate deities, or perfonified modes of aftion of the great uni- 
verfal Generator, reprefented by the fymbol in the middle, to which 
the others are reprefented as paying their adorations, with geftures 
of humility and refped/ 

What is theprecife meaning of thefe four fymbolical figures, it 
is fcarcely pofTible for us to difcover, from the fmall fragments of 
the myftic learning of the ancients which are now extant. That 
they were however intended as perfonified attributes, we can have 
no doubt; for we are taught by the venerable authority of the 
Bagvat Geeta^ that all the fubordinate deities were fuch, or elfe 
canonifed men, which thefe figures evidently are not. As for the 
mythological tales now current in India, they throw the fame degree 
of light upon the fubjed, as Ovid's Metamorphofes do on the 
ancient theology of Greece; that is, juft enough to bewilder and 
perplex thofe who give up their attention to it. The ancient author 
before cited is deferving of more credit ; but he has faid very little 
upon the fymbolical worfhip. His work, neverthelefs, clearly 
proves that its principles were precifely the fame as thofe of the 
Greeks and Egyptians, among whofe remains of art or literature, 
we may, perhaps, find fome probable analogies to aid conjedure. 
The elephant is, however, a new fymbol in the weft ; the Greeks 
never having feen one of thofe animals before the expedition of 
Alexander,- although the ufe of ivory was familiar among them 
even in the days of Homer. Upon this Indian monument the 
head of the elephant is placed upon the body of a man with four 
hands, two of which are held up as prepared to ftrike with the in- 
ftruments they hold, and the other two pointed down as in adora- 
tion of the Lingam. This figure is called Gonnis and Pollear by 
the modern Hindoos ; but neither of thefe names is to be found in 
the Geeta, where the deity only fays, that the learned behold him 

1 See Plate xii. ^ Paufan. lib. i. c. 12. 


alike in the reverend Brahman -perfected in knowledge^ in the ox, 
and in the elephant. What peculiar attributes the elephant was 
meant to exprefs, the ancient writer has not told us ; but, as the 
charaderiftic properties of this animal are ftrength and fagacity, we 
may conclude that his image was intended to reprefent ideas 
fomewhat fimilar to thofe which the Greeks reprefented by that 
of Minerva, who was worfhipped as the goddefs of force 
and wifdom, of war and counfel. The Indian Gonnis is indeed 
male, and Minerva female; but this difference of fexes, however 
important it may be in phyfical, is of very little confequence in 
metaphyseal beings, Minerva being, like the other Greek deities, 
either male or female, or both.^ On the medals of the Ptolemies, 
under whom the Indian fymbols became familiar to the Greeks 
through the commerce of Alexandria, we find her repeatedly repre- 
fented with the elephant's fkin upon her head, inftead of a helmet; 
and with a countenance between male and female, fuch as the artift 
would naturally give her, when he endeavoured to blend the Greek 
and Indian fymbols, and mould them into one.'"^ Minerva is faid 
by the Greek mythologifts to have been born without a mother, 
from the head of Jupiter, who was delivered of her by the afiiftance 
of Vulcan. This, in plain language, means no more than that Hie 
was a pure emanation of the divine mind, operating by means of 
the univerfal agent fire, and not, like others of the allegorical per- 
fonages, fprung from any of the particular operations of the deity 
upon external matter. Hence fhe is faid to be next in dignity to 
her father, and to be endowed with all his attributes -^ for, as wifdom 
is the mofi: exalted quality of the mind, and the divine mind the 
perfedion of wifdom, all its attributes are the attributes of wifdom, 

' Kpaev KUL 6t]\v^ e(f>v<;. Orph. et<? K6t]V. 

2 See Plate xiii. Fig. 5, engraved from one belonging to me. 

3 Her. lib. i. Od. 12. Callimach. €t9 \di]V. 



under whofe diredion its power is always exerted. Strength and 
wifdom therefore, when confidered as attributes of the deity, are 
in fadl one and the fame. The Greek Minerva is ufually repre- 
fented with the fpear uplifted in her hand, in the fame manner as 
the Indian Gonnis holds the battle-axe.^ Both are given to denote 
the deftroying power equally belonging to divine wifdom, as the 
creative or preferving. The ftatue of Jupiter at Labranda in Caria 
held in his hand the battle-axe, inftead of thunder ; and on the 
medals of Tenedos and Thyatira, we find it reprefented alone as 
the fymbol of the deity, in the fame manner as the thunder is 
upon a great variety of other medals. / am the thunderbolt^ fays 
the deity in the Bagvat Geeta f and when we find this fuppofed 
engine of divine vengeance upon the medals, we muft not imagine 
that it is meant for the weapon of the fupreme god, but for the 
fymbol of his deftroying attribute. What inftrument the Gonnis 
holds in his other hand, is not eafily afcertained, it being a little 
injured by the carriage. In one of thofe pointed downwards he 
holds the Lotus flower, to denote that he has the diredion of the 
paftive powers of produdion ; and in the other, a golden ring or difc, 
which, I fhall foon fhew, was the fymbol by which many nations 
of the Eaft reprefented the fun. His head is drawn into a conical, 
or pyramidal form, and furrounded by an ornament which evidently 
reprefents flames ; the Indians, as well as the Greeks, looking upon 
fire as the eflence of all adive power ; whence perpetual lamps are 
kept burning in the holy of holies of all the great pagodas in 
India, as they were anciently in the temple of Jupiter Ammon, 
and rnany others both Greek and Barbarian f and the incarnate 
god in the Bagvat Geeta hys^ I am the fire reftding in the bodies of 
all things which have life} Upon the forehead of the Gonnis is a 

1 See Plate xiii. Fig. ii, from a medal of Seleucus J. belonging to me. 

2 Page 86. ^ See Plut. de Qrac. defeSi. ^ Page 113. 



crefcent reprefenting the moon, vvhofe power over the waters of the 
ocean caufed her to be regarded as the fovereign of the great 
nutritive element, and whofe mild rays, being accompanied by the 
refrelliing dews and cooling breezes of the night, made her natu- 
rally appear to the inhabitants of hot countries as the comforter and 
reftorer of the earth. / am the moon (fays the deity in the Bag- 
vat Geeta) whofe nature it is to give the quality of tajle and relijh, 
and to cherijh the herbs and plants of the field} The light of the 
fun, moon, and fire, were however all but one, and equally emana- 
tions of the fupreme being. Know^ fays the deity in the fame 
ancient dialogue, that the light which proceedeth from the fun^ and 
illuminateth the worlds and the light which is in the moon and in the 
fire^ are fnine. I pervade all things in nature^ and guard them with 
my beams} In the figure now under confideration a kind of pre- 
eminence feems to be given to the moon over the fun ; proceeding 
probably from the Hindoos not poffefiing the true folar fyftem, 
which muft however have been known to the people from whom 
they learnt to calculate eclipfes, which they ftill continue to do, 
though upon principles not underftood by themfelves. They now 
place the earth in the centre of the univerfe, as the later Greeks 
did, among whom we alfo find the fame preference given to the 
lunar fymbol ; Jupiter being reprefented, on a medal of Antiochus 
VIII., with the crefcent upon his head, and the afterifc of the fun 
in his hand.'^ In a paffage of the Bagvat Geeta already cited we 
find the elephant and bull mentioned together as fymbols of the 
fame kind ; and on a medal of Seleucus Nicator we find them 
united by the horns of the one being placed on the head of the 
other.* The later Greeks alfo fometimes employed the elephant as 
the univerfal fymbol of the deity ; in which fenfe he is reprefented 

^ Page 113. - Ibid. ^ Plate xiil. Fig. 10, from one belonging to me. 

•* See Plate xiil. Fig 9, and Gefner, Num. Reg. Syr. Tab. vill. Fig. 23. 


on a medal of Antiochus VI, bearing the torch, the emblem of the 
univerfal agent, fire, in his probofcis, and the cornucopia, the refult 
of its exertion, in his tail/ 

On another corner of the little Indian pagoda, is a figure with 
four heads, all of the fame pointed form as that of the Gonnis. This 
I take to reprefent Brahma, to whom the Hindoos attribute four 
mouths, and fay that with them he dilated the four Beads, or 
Veads, the myftic volumes of their religion."^ The four heads are 
turned difl-'erent ways, but exaftly refemble each other. The 
beards have been painted black, and are fharp and pointed, like 
thofe of goats, which the Greeks gave to Pan, and his fubordinate 
emanations, the Fauns and Satyrs. Hence I am inclined to believe, 
that the Brahma of the Indians is the fame as the Pan of the 
Greeks ; that is, the creative fpirit of the deity transfufed through 
matter, and afting in the four elements reprefented by the four 
heads. The Indians indeed admit of a fifth element, as the Greeks 
did likewife ; but this is never clafled with the reft, being of an 
aetherial and more exalted nature, and belonging peculiarly to 
the deity. Some call it heaven^ Jome light, and Jome ather, fays 
Plutarch." The Hindoos now call it Occus, by which they feem 
to mean pure aetherial light or fire. 

This mode of reprefenting the allegorical perfonages of religion 
with many heads and limbs to exprefs their various attributes, 
and extenfive operation, is now univerfal in the Eaft,^ and feems 
anciently not to have been unknown to the Greeks, at leaft if we 
may judge by the epithets ufed by Pindar and other early poets.^ 
The union of two fymbolical heads is common among the fpeci- 
mens of their art now extant, as may be feen upon the medals of 

1 See Plate xill. Fig 8, and Gefner, Num. Reg. Syr. Tab. vili. Fig. i. 

2 Bagvat Geeta, Note 41. ^ B.i apud Delph. 
^ See Kaempfer, Chappe d'Auteroche, Sonnerat, &c. 

^ Such as €KaTO'yKe(f)a\o<i , eKarovraKapavo^, CKaroy^eLpo^^ &c. 

OF PR UP US. r,i 

Syracufe, Marfeilles, and many other cities. Upon a gem of this 
fort in the colletflion of Mr. Townley, the fame ideas which are 
exprefled on the Indian pagoda by the diftindl figures Brahma and 
Gonnis, are exprefTed by the united heads of Amnion and Minerva. 
Amnion, as before obferved, was the Pan of the Greeks, and 
Minerva is here evidently the fame as the Gonnis, being repre- 
fented after the Indian manner, with the elephant's fkin on her 
head, inftead of a helmet.^ Both thefe heads appear feparate 
upon different medals of the Ptolemies,^ under one of whom 
this gem was probably engraved, Alexandria having been for a 
long time the great centre of religions, as well as of trade and 

Next to the figure of Brahma on the pagoda is the cow of 
plenty, or the female emblem of the generative or nutritive power 
of the earth ; and at the other corner, next to the Gonnis, is the 
figure of a woman, with a head of the fame conic or pyramidal 
form, and upon the front of it a flame of fire, from which hangs 
a crefcent.^ This feems to be the female perfonification of the 
divine attributes reprefented by the Gonnis or Pollear ; for the 
Hindoos, like the Greeks, worfhip the deity under both fexes, 
though they do not attempt to unite both in one figure. / am 
the father ajtd the mother of the world^ fays the incarnate god in 
the Bagvat Geeta.* Amongjl cattle^ adds he in a fubfequent part, 
/ am the cow Kamadhook. I am the prolific Kandarp, the god of 
love:' Thefe two fentences, by being placed together, feem to 
imply fome relation between this god of love and the cow Kamad- 
hook; and, were we to read the words without pundluation, as they 
are in all ancient orthography, we fliould think the author placed 
the god of love amongft the cattle; which he would naturally do. 

1 See Plate xiii. Fig. 7. 2 See Plate xiii. Fig. 5 and 6. 

•' See Plate x!i. ■* Page 80. ^ Page 86. 


if it were the cuftom of his religion to reprefent him by an animal 
fymbol. Among the Egyptians, as before obferved, the cow was 
the fymbol of Venus, the goddefs of love, and paffive generative 
power of nature. On the capitals of one of the temples of Philae 
we ftill find the heads of this goddefs reprefented of a mixed form ; 
the horns and the ears of the cow being joined to the beautiful 
features of a woman in the prime of life;^ fuch as the Greeks 
attributed to that Venus, whom they worfhipped as the mother of 
the prolific god of love, Cupid, who was the perfonification of 
animal defire or concupifcence, as the Orphic love, the father of 
gods and men, was of univerfal attraftion. The Greeks, who 
reprefented the mother under the form of a beautiful woman, 
naturally reprefented the fon under the form of a beautiful boy; 
but a people who reprefented the mother under the form of a 
cow, would as naturally reprefent the fon under the form of a 
calf This feems to be the cafe with the Hindoos, as well as with 
the Egyptians ; wherefore Kandarp may be very properly placed 
among the cattle. 

By following this analogy, we may come to the true meaning of 
a much-celebrated objed of devotion, recorded by another ancient 
writer, of a more venerable charader. When the Ifraelites grew 
clamorous on account of the abfence of Mofes, and called upon 
Aaron to make them a god to go before them, he fet up a golden 
calf; to which the people facrificed and feafted, and then rofe up 
(as the tranflator fays) to play ; but in the original the term is more 
fpecific, and means, in its plain diredl fenfe, that particular fort of 
play which requires the concurrence of both fexes," and which was 
therefore a very proper conclufion of a facrifice to Cupid, though 
highly difpleafing to the god who had brought them out of 
Egypt. The Egyptian mythologifts, who appeared to have in- 

1 See Plate xviii. Fig. 3. ~ Exod. xxxii. 


vented this fecondary deity of love, were probably the inventors 
iikewife of a fecondary Priapus, who was the perfonification of that 
particular generative faculty, which fprings from animal defire, as 
the primary Priapus was of the great generative principle of the 
univerfe. Hence, in the allegories of the poets, this deity is faid 
to be a fon of Bacchus and Venus ; that is, the refult of the adive 
and pafTive generative powers of nature. The ftory of his being 
the fon of a Grecian conqueror, and born at Lampfacus, feems to 
be a corruption of this allegory. 

Of all the nations of antiquity the Perfians were the moft fimple 
and dired: in the worfliip of the creator. They were the puritans 
of the heathen world, and not only rejedled all images of god or 
his agents, but alfo temples and altars, according to Herodotus,^ 
whofe authority I prefer to any other, becaufe he had an opportunity 
of converfing with them before they had adopted any foreign fuper- 
ftitions.' As they worfhipped the aetherial fire without any medium 
of perfonification or allegory, they thought it unworthy of the 
dignity of the god to be reprefented by any definite form, or cir- 
cumfcribed to any particular place. The univerfe was his temple, 
and the all-pervading element of fire his only fymbol. The Greeks 
appear originally to have held fimilar opinions ; for they were long 
without ftatues ;^ and Paufanias fpeaks of a temple at Sicyon, built 
by Adraftus,* who lived an age before the Trojan war ; which con- 
fided of columns only, without wall or roof, like the Celtic temples 
of our Northern anceftors, or the Pyrsetheia of the Perfians, which 
were circles of fl:ones, in the centre of which was kindled the facred 
fire,'^ the fymbol of the god. Homer frequently fpeaks of places 
of worfhip confifliing of an area and altar only (reytiei/o? ^oifio<i re), 

1 Lib. i. 

2 Hvdc, Anquetil, and other modern writers, have given us the operofe fuper- 
llitions of the prefent Parfees for the fimple theifm of the ancient Perfians. 

3 Paufan. lib. vii. and ix. * Lib. ii. ^ Strab. lib. xv. 


which were probably inclofures like thefe of the Perfians, with an 
altar in the centre. The temples dedicated to the creator Bacchus, 
which the Greek architects called hypathral^ feem to have been 
anciently of the fame kind; whence probably came the title 7repiKtovio<; 
[Jurrounded with columns) attributed to that god in the Orphic 
litanies.^ The remains of one of thefe are ftill extant at Puzzuoli 
near Naples, which the inhabitants call the Temple of Serapis : 
but the ornaments of grapes, vafes, &c. found among the ruins, 
prove it to have been of Bacchus. Serapis was indeed the fame 
deity worfhipped under another form, being equally a perfonifica- 
tion of the Tun.^ The architedure is of the Roman times ; but the 
ground plan is probably that of a very ancient one, which this was 
made to replace; for it exadly refembles that of a Celtic temple in 
Zeeland, publifhed in Stukeley's Itinerary.^ The ranges of fquare 
buildings which inclofe it are not properly parts of the temple, 
but apartments of the priefts, places for vidiims and facredutenfils, 
and chapels dedicated to fubordinate deities introduced by a more 
complicated and corrupt worfhip, and probably unknown to the 
founders of the original edifice.'^ The portico, which runs parallel 
with thefe buildings,^ inclofed the temenos, or area of facred ground, 
which in the pyr^etheia of the Perfians was circular, but is here 
quadrangular, as in the Celtic temple in Zeeland, and the Indian 
pagoda before defcribed. In the centre was the holy of holies, the 
feat of the god, confifting of a circle of columns raifed upon a bafe- 
ment, without roof or walls, in the middle of which was probably 
the facred fire, or fome other fymbol of the deity. *^ The fquare 
area in which it fl:ood, was funk below the natural level of the 
ground,'' and, like that of the little Indian pagoda, appears to have 

* Hymn. 46. ^ Diodor. Sic. lib. i. Macrob. Sat. lib. i. c. 20. 

3 See Plate xv. Fig. i and 2, and Plate xiii. Fig. 4. 

4 Plate XV. Fig. 2, a — a. ^ Plate xv. Fig. 2, b — b. 

6 See Plate xv. Fig. 1, a, and Fig. 2, c. "> See Plate xv. Fig. i, b — b. 


been occafionally floated with water, the drains and conduits being 
ftill to be feen/ as alfo feveral fragments of fculpture reprefenting 
waves, ferpents, and various aquatic animals, which once adorned 
the bafement." The Bacchus 7repLKiovio<; here worfhipped, was, as 
we learn from the Orphic hymn above cited, the fun in his 
charader of extinguifher of the fires which once pervaded the earth. 
This he was fuppofed to have done by exhaling the waters of the 
ocean, and fcattering them over the land, which was thus fuppofed 
to have acquired its proper temperature and fertility. For this 
reafon the facred fire, the effential image of the god, was furrounded 
by the element which was principally employed in giving effed: to 
the beneficial exertions of his great attribute. 

Thefe Orphic temples were, without doubt, emblems of that 
fundamental principle of the myftic faith of the ancients, the folar 
fyftem ; fire, the efience of the deity, occupying the place of the 
fun, and the columns furrounding it as the fubordinate parts of the 
univerfe. Remains of the worfhip of fire continued among the 
Greeks even to the laft, as appears from the facred fires kept in the 
interior apartment, or holy of holies, of almoft all their temples, 
and places of worfhip: and, though the Ammonian Platonics, the 
lafl profefTors of the ancient religion, endeavoured to conceive fome- 
thing beyond the reach of fenfe and perception, as the efTence of 
their fupreme god; yet, when they wanted to illufhrate and explain 
the modes of aftion of this metaphyfical abftradion, who was more 
fubtle than intelligence itfelf, they do it by images and compa- 
rifons of light and fire.'^ 

From a paffage of Hecataeus, preferved by Diodorus Siculus, I 
think it is evident that Stonehenge, and all the other monuments of 
the fame kind found in the North, belonged to the fame religion, 

1 See Plate xv. Fig. i, c — r. 2 See Plate xvn. Fig. i. 

3 See Proclus in Theol. Platon. lib. i. c. 19. 



which appears, at fome remote period, to have prevailed over the 
whole northern hemifphere. According to that ancient hiftorian, 
the Hyperboreans inhabited an ijland beyond Gaul, as large as Sicily^ 
in which Apollo was worjhipped in a circular temple confider able for 
its fixe and riches} Apollo, we know, in the language of the Greeks 
of that age, can mean no other than the fun, which, according to 
Cfefar, was worshipped by the Germans, when they knew of no 
other deities except fire and the moon.^ The ifland I think can be 
no other than Britain, which at that time was only known to the 
Greeks by the vague reports of Phoenician mariners, fo uncertain 
and obfcure, that Herodotus, the moft inquifitive and credulous of 
hiftorians, doubts of its exiftence.^ The circular temple of the fun 
being noticed in fuch flight and imperfeft accounts, proves that it 
muft have been fomething fingular and important ; for, if it had 
been an inconfiderable ftrudure, it would not have been mentioned 
at all ; and, if there had been many fuch in the country, the hiftorian 
would not have employed the fingular number. Stonehenge has 
certainly been a circular temple, nearly the fame as that already 
defcribed of the Bacchus TreptKiovio^ at Puzzuoli, except that in the 
latter the nice execution, and beautiful fymmetry of the parts, are 
in every refped the reverfe of the rude but majeftic fimplicity of 
the former ; in the original defign they differ but in the form of 
the area.* It may therefore be reafonably fuppofed, that we have 

^'Naov a^ioXoyov^avaOrj/jiaat TroXXot? KeKO(T/xr)/jb€VOV^(r^atpoeiBr) rmaxni^o,'^'" 
Diod. Sic. lib. ii. 

^De B. Gal. lib. vi. ^ Lib. iii. c. 15. 

4 See Plate xv. Fig. 2 and 3. I have preferred Webb's plan of Stonehenge to 
Stukeley's and Smith's, after comparing each with the ruins now exifling. They 
differ materially only in the cell, which Webb fuppofes to have been a hexagon, 
and Stukeley a feftion of an ellipfis. The pofition of the altar is merely conjeftural; 
wherefore I have omitted it ; and I much doubt whether either be right in their 
plans of the cell, which feems, as in other Druidical temples, to have been meant for 
a circle, but incorreftly executed. 


ftill the ruins of the identical temple defcribed by Hecataeus, who, 
being an Afiatic Greek, might have received his information from 
fome Phoenician merchant, who had vifited the interior parts of 
Britain when trading there for tin. Macrobius mentions a temple 
of the fame kind and form upon Mount Zilmilfus in Thrace, de- 
dicated to the fun under the title of Bacchus Sebazius/ The large 
obelifcs of ftone found in many parts of the North, fuch as thofe at 
Rudftone,'^ and near Boroughbridge in Yorkfhire,^ belong to the 
fame religion; obelifcs being, as Pliny obferves, facred to the fun, 
whofe rays they reprefented both by their form and name.* An 
ancient medal of Apollonia in Illyria, belonging to the Mufeum of 
the late Dr. Hunter, has the head of Apollo crowned with laurel 
on one fide, and on the other an obelifc terminating in a crofs, the 
leaft explicit reprefentation of the male organs of generation.^ 
This has exadly the appearance of one of thofe crofTes, which 
were ereded in church-yards and crofs roads for the adoration of 
devout perfons, when devotion was more prevalent than at prefent. 
Many of thefe were undoubtedly ereded before the eftablifhment 
of Chriftianity, and converted, together with their worfhippers, to 
the true faith. Anciently they reprefented the generative power of 
light, the effence of God ; for God is lights and never but in iin- 
approached light dwelt from eternity^ fays Milton, who in this, as 
well as many other inftances,has followed the Ammonian Platonics, 
who were both the restorers and corrupters of the ancient theology. 
They reftored it from the mafs of poetical mythology, under which 
it was buried, but refined and fublimated it with abftrad meta- 
phyiics, which foared as far above human reafon as the poetical 

1 Sat. lib. i. c. 18. ^ Archceologia, vol. v. 

3 Now called the Devil's Arrows. See Stukeley's Itin. vol. i. Table xc. 

< Hijl. Nat. lib. xxxvi. fee. 14. 

^ Plate X. Fig. i, and Numrni Pop. ^ Urb. Table x. Fig. 7. 


mythology funk below it. From the ancient folar obelifcs came 
the fpires and pinnacles with which our churches are ftill decorated, 
fo many ages after their myftic meaning has been forgotten. 
Happily for the beauty of thefe edifices, it was forgotten ; other- 
wife the reformers of the laft century would have deflroyed them, 
as they did the croffes and images ; for they might with equal 
propriety have been pronounced heathenifh and prophane. 

As the obelifc was the fymbol of light, fo was the pyramid of 
fire, deemed to be eflentially the fame. The Egyptians, among 
whom thefe forms are the moft frequent, held that there were two 
oppofite powers in the world, perpetually ading contrary to each 
other, the one creating, and the other destroying : the former they 
called Ofiris, and the latter Typhon.^ By the contention of thefe 
two, that mixture of good and evil, which, according to fome 
verfes of Euripides quoted by Plutarch," conftituted the harmony 
of the world, was fuppofed to be produced. This opinion of the 
necefTary mixture of good and evil was, according to Plutarch, of 
immemorial antiquity, derived from the oldeft theologifts and 
legillators, not only in traditions and reports, but in myfteries 
and facrifices, both Greek and barbarian.^ Fire was the efficient 
principle of both, and, according to fome of the Egyptians, that 
Eetherial fire which concentred in the fun. This opinion Plutarch 
controverts, faying that Typhon, the evil or defl:roying power, 
was a terrefl:rial or material fire, eflentially different from the 
^therial. But Plutarch here argues from his own prejudices, 
rather than from the evidence of the cafe ; for he believed in an 
original evil principle coeternal with the good, and ading in per- 
petual oppofition to it; an error into which men have been led by 
forming falfe notions of good and evil, and confidering them as 

1 Plutarch, de Is. iff Os. ~ Ibid., p. 455, Ed. Reiflcii. 

3 Ibid., Ed. Reilkii. 


felf-exifting inherent properties, inftead of accidental modifications, 
variable with every circumftance with which caufes and events are 
conneded. This error, though adopted by individuals, never 
formed a part either of the theology or mythology of Greece. 
Homer, in the beautiful allegory of the two cafks, makes Jupiter, 
the fupreme god, the diftributor of both good and evil.' The 
name of Jupiter, Zeu<?, was originally one of the titles or epithets of 
the fun, fignifying, according to its Qtyn\o\ogy,aweful or terrible;'^ 
in which fenfe it is ufed in the Orphic litanies.'^ Pan, the 
univerfal fubftance, is called the horned Jupiter (Zeu? Kepaar-q^) ; 
and in an Orphic fragment preferved by Macrobius^ the names of 
Jupiter and Bacchus appear to be only titles of the all-creating 
power of the lun. 

A7A.a€ Zef, ALOvvcre, Trare^ nrovrov, irare^ air]<;^ 
'HXie Trayyevero^. 

In another fragment preferved by the fame author,' the name of 
Pluto, Ai8r]^, is ufed as a title of the fame deity ; who appears 
therefore to have prefided over the dead as well as over the living, 
and to have been the lord of deftrudion as well as creation and 
prefervation. We accordingly find that in one of the Orphic 
litanies now extant, he is expreffly called the giver of life, and 
the deftroyer.'' 

The Egyptians reprefented Typhon, the deftroying power, 
under the figure of the hippopotamus or river-horfe, the moft 
fierce and deftrudive animal they knew;' and the Chorus in the 
Bacch^ of Euripides invoke their infpirer Bacchus to appear under 
the form of a bull, a many-headed ferpent, or fiaming lion ; ** which 
fhews that the moft bloody and deftrudlive, as well as the moft 

1 //. cv, V. 527. 2 Damm. Lex. Etymol. ^ Hymn. x. v. 13. 

■* Sat. lib. i. c. 23. -'* Sat. lib. i. c. 8. ^ Hymn. Ixxii. Ed. Gefri. 

' Plutarch. Je Is. ^ Os. ^ V. 1015. 


ufeful of animals, was employed by the Greeks to reprefent fome 
perfonified attribute of the god. M. D'Hancarville has alfo 
obferved, that the lion is frequently employed by the ancient artifts 
as a fymbol of the fun ; ^ and 1 am inclined to believe that it was to 
exprefs this deftroying power, no lefs requifite to preferve the 
harmony of the univerfe than the generating. In moft of the 
monuments of ancient art where the lion is reprefented, he appears 
with expreffions of rage and violence, and often in the ad of 
killing and devouring fome other animal. On an ancient farco- 
phagus found in Sicily he is reprefented devouring a horfe,^ and on 
the medals of Velia in Italy, devouring a deer;^ the former, as 
facred to Neptune, reprefented the fea ; and the latter, as facred to 
Diana, the produce of the earth ; for Diana was the fertility of the 
earth perfonified, and therefore is faid to have received her nymphs 
or produdlive minifters from the ocean, the fource of fecundity.* 
The lion, therefore, in the former inftance, appears as a fymbol of 
the fun exhaling the waters ; and in the latter, as withering and 
putrifying the produce of the earth. On the frieze of the Temple 
of Apollo Didymaeus, near Miletus, are monfters compofed of the 
mixt forms of the goat and lion, refting their fore feet upon the 
lyre of the god, which ftands between them.^ The goat, as I have 
already fhewn, reprefented the creative attribute, and the lyre, 
harmony and order; therefore, if we admit that the lion reprefented 
the deftroying attribute, this compofition will fignify, in the 
fymbolical language of fculpture, the harmony and order of the 
univerfe preferved by the regular and periodical operations of the 

1 Recherches fur les Arts. See alfo Macrob. Sat. i. c. 21. 

2 Houel, Voyage de la Sicile. Plate xxxvi. 

3 Plate IX. Fig. 5, engraved from one belonging to me. 

* Callimach. Hymn. ad. Dian. v. 13. Getiitor Nympharum Oceanus. Catullus 
in Cell. V. 84. 

5 Ionian Antiquities, vol. i. c. 3. Plate ix. 


creative and deftrudive powers. This is a notion to which men 
would be naturally led by obferving the common order and pro- 
grellion of things. The fame heat of the fun, which fcorched and 
withered the grafs in fummer, ripened the fruits in autumn, and 
cloathed the earth with verdure in the fpring. In one feafon it 
dried up the waters from the earth, and in another returned them 
in rain. It caufed fermentation and putrefadion, which deftroy 
one generation of plants and animals, and produce another in 
conftant and regular fucceffion. This contention between the 
powers of creation and deftrud;ion is reprefented on an ancient 
medal of Acanthus, in the mufeum of the late Dr. Hunter, by a 
combat between the bull and lion.^ The bull alone is reprefented 
on other medals in exadly the fame attitude and gefture as when 
fighting with the lion;- whence I conclude that the lion is there 
underftood. On the medals of Celenderis, the goat appears inftead 
of the bull in exadly the fame attitude of ftruggle and contention, 
but without the lion ;•' and in a curious one of very ancient but 
excellent workmanfhip, belonging to me, the ivy of Bacchus is 
placed over the back of the goat, to denote the power which he 

The mutual operation which was the refult of this contention, 
was fignified, in the mythological tales of the poets, by the loves 
of Mars and Venus, the one the adive power of deftrudlion, and 
the other the paffive power of generation. From their union is 
faid to have fprung the goddefs Harmony, who was the phyfical 
order of the univerfe perfonified. The fable of Ceres and Profer- 
pine is the fame allegory inverted ; Ceres being the prolific power 

1 Plate IX. Fig. 4, ^ Nummi Vet. Pop. y JJrb. Table i. Fig. 16. 

2 Plate IX. Fig. i z, from one of Afpendus in the fame Colleftion. See Nummi 
Vet. Pop. kff Vrb. Table viii. Fig. 20. 

3 'Nummi Vet. Pop. ^ Vrb. Table xvi. Fig. 13. 
" Plate IX. Fig. 13. 


of the earth perfonlfied, and hence called by the Greeks Mother 
Earth [T-n or A'n-fir}Tr)^). The Latin name Ceres alfo fignifying 
Earth, the Roman C being the fame originally, both in figure and 
power as the Greek F,^ which Homer often ufes as a mere guttural 
afpirate, and adds it arbitrarily to his words, to make them more 
folemnandfonorous.'^ The guttural afpirates and hiffing termina- 
tions more particularly belonged to the i^olic dialed, from which 
the Latin was derived ; wherefore we need not wonder that the 
fame word, which by the Dorians and lonians was written Epa and 
Epe, fhould by the ^olians be written Te/ae? or Ceres, the Greeks 
always accommodating their orthography to their pronunciation. 
In an ancient bronze at Strawberry Hill this goddefs is reprefented 
fitting, with a cup in one hand, and various forts of fruits in the 
other ; and the bull, the emblem of the power of the Creator, in 
her lap.'^ This compofition fhews the frudification of the earth 
by the defcent of the creative fpirit in the fame manner as defcribed 
by Virgil : — 

Vere tument terras, et genitalia femina polcunt ; 
Turn pater omnipotens foecundis imbribus sether 
Conjugis in gremium laetae defcendit, & omnes 
Magnus alit, magno commixtus corpore, fcetus.^ 

^ther and water are here introduced by the poet as the two pro- 
lific elements which fertilize the earth, according to the ancient 
fyftem of the Orphic philofophy, upon which the myftic theology 
was founded. Proferpine, or IlepaL(j)oveLa, the daughter of Ceres, 
was, as her Greek name indicates, the goddefs of deftrudion, in 
which charader fhe is invoked by Althaea in the ninth Iliad ; but 
neverthelefs we often find her on the Greek medals crowned with 

1 See S. C. Marcian, and the medals of Gela and Agrigentum. 

2 As in the word eptS^iro^, ufually written by him €pLySii7ro<i. 

3 See Plate viii. '^ Georgic. lib. ii. v. 324. 


ears of corn, as being the goddefs of fertility as well as deftruc- 
tion.^ She is, in fad, a perfonification of the heat or fire that 
pervades the earth, which is at once the caufe and effed of fertility 
and deftrucftion, for it is at once the caufe and effed of fermentation, 
from which both proceed. The Libitina, or goddefs of death of 
the Romans, was the fame as the Perfiphoneia of the Greeks; and 
yet, as Plutarch obferves, the mod learned of that people allowed 
her to be the fame as Venus, the goddefs of generation.^ 

In the Gallery at Florence is a coloffal image of the organ of 
generation, mounted on the back parts of a lion, and hung round 
with various animals. By this is reprefented the co-operation of 
the creating and deftroying powers, which are both blended and 
united in one figure, becaufe both are derived from one caufe. 
The animals hung round fhow likewife that both ad to the fame 
purpofe, that of replenifhing the earth, and peopling it with ftill 
rifing generations of fenfitive beings. The Chimaera of Homer, of 
which the commentators have given fo many whimfical interpreta- 
tions, was a fymbol of the fame kind, which the poet probably, 
having feen in Afia, and not knowing its meaning (which was only 
revealed to the initiated) fuppofed to be a monfter that had once 
infefted the country. He defcribes it as compofed of the forms 
of the goat^ the lion, and the Jerpent, and breathing fire from its 
mouth.^ Thefe are the fymbols of the creator, the defiroyer, and 
t\\t preferver^ united and animated hy fire, the divine effence of all 
three.* On a gem, publifhed in the Memoirs of the Academy of 
Cortona/ this union of the deftroying and preferving attributes is 

1 Plate iv. Fig. 5, from a medal of Agathocles, belonging to me. The lame 
head is upon many others, of Syracufe, Metapontum, &c. 

2 In Numa. 3 //. ^, v. 223. 

"* For the natural properties attributed by the ancients to fire, fee Plutarch, in 
Camillo, Plin. Hiji. Nut. lib. xxxvi. c. 68. 

^ Vol. iv. p. 32. See alfo Plate v. Fig. 4, copied from it. 


reprefented by the united forms of the lion and ferpent crowned 
with rays, the emblems of the caufe from which both proceed. 
This compofition forms the Chnoubis of the Egyptians. 

Bacchus is frequently reprefented by the ancient artifts accom- 
panied by tigers, which appear, in fome inftances, devouring cluf- 
ters of grapes, the fruit peculiarly confecrated to the god, and in 
others drinking the liquor prefTed from them. The author of the 
Recherches Jur les Arts has in this inftance followed the common 
accounts of the Mythologifts, and afferted that tigers are really fond 
of grapes;^ which is fo far from being true, that they are incapable 
of feeding upon them, or upon any fruit whatever, being both 
externally and internally formed to feed upon flefh only, and to 
procure their food by deftroying other animals. Hence I am 
perfuaded, that in the ancient fymbols, tigers, as well as lions, 
reprefent the deftroying power of the god. Sometimes his chariot 
appears drawn by them ; and then they reprefent the powers of 
deftruftion preceding the powers of generation, and extending 
their operation, as putrefadion precedes, and increafes vegetation. 
On a medal of Maronea, publiihed by Gefner,^ a goat is coupled 
with the tiger in drawing his chariot; by which compofition the 
artift has fhewn the general aElive power of the deity, conduded 
by his two great attributes of creation and deftrudion. On the 
Choragic monument of Lyficrates at Athens, Bacchus is reprefented 
feeding a tiger ; which ftiows the adive power of generation 
feeding and cheriftiing the adive power of deftrudion.^ On a 
beautiful cameo in the coUedion of the Duke of Marlborough, 
the tiger is fucking the breaft of a nymph; which reprefents the 
fame power of deftrudion, nouriftied by the paffive power of gene- 
ration.* In the mufeum of Charles Townley, Efq., is a group, in 

1 Liv. i. c. 3. 2 Table xliii. Fig. 26. ^ Stuart's Athens, vol, i. c. 4, Plate x. 
4 See Plate xxill. engraved merely to (hovvr the compofition, it not being per- 
mitted to make an exadl drawing of it. 


marble, of three figures ; ^ the middle one of which grows out of 
a vine in a human form, with leaves and clufters of grapes fpringing 
out of its body. On one fide is the Bacchus 8l(}>vt]^, or creator of 
both fexes, known by the effeminate mold of his limbs and coun- 
tenance; and on the other, a tiger, leaping up, and devouring the 
grapes which fpring from the body of the perfonified vine, the 
hands of which are employed in receiving another clufler from the 
Bacchus. This compofition reprefents the vine between the crea- 
ting and defliroying attributes of god; the one giving it fruit, and 
the other devouring it when given. The tiger has a garland of 
ivy round his neck, to fhow that the defi:royer was co-eflential with 
the creator, of whom ivy, as well as all other ever-greens, was an 
emblem reprefenting his perpetual youth and viridity.^ 

The mutual and alternate operation of the two great attributes 
of creation and defl:ru<5tion, was not confined by the ancients to 
plants and animals, and fuch tranfitory productions, but extended 
to the univerfe itfelf. Fire being the eflential caufe of both, they 
believed that the conflagration and renovation of the world were 
periodical and regular, proceeding from each other by the laws of 
its own confliitution, implanted in it by the creator, who was alfo 
the deftroyer and renovator f for, as Plato fays, all things arife from 
one, and into one are all things refolved.* It muft be obferved, 
that, when the ancients fpeak of creation and deftru6lion, they mean 
only formation and difTolution; it being univerfally allowed, through 
all fyftems of religion, or feds of philofophy, that nothing could 
come from nothings and that no power whatever could annihilate that 

1 See Plate xxi. Fig. 7. 2 Strabo, lib. xv. p. 712. 

3 Brucker, Hi/i. Crit. Philof. vol. i. part 2, lib. i. Plutarch, de Placit. Philof. 
lib. ii. c. 18. Lucretius, lib. v. ver. 92. Cic. de Nat. Deor. lib. ii. 

^ l£j^ kvo<i rairavra'^iveadaL^KaLeL'; r^ avTov avaXveadai^'iTi Pha;d. The fame 
dogma is IHII more plainly inculcated by the ancient Indian author before cited, fee 
Bagvat Geeta, Left. ix. 


which really exijied. The bold and magnificent idea of a creation 
from nothing was referved for the more vigorous faith, and more 
enlightened minds of the moderns,^ who need feek no authority to 
confirm their belief; for, as that which is felf-evident admits of no 
proof, fo that which is in itfelf impoflible admits of no refutation. 
The fable of the ferpent Pytho being deftroyed by Apollo, 
probably arofe from an emblematical compofition, in which that 
god was reprefented as the deftroyer of life, of which the ferpent 
wasafymbol. Pliny mentions a ftatue of him by Praxiteles, 
which was much celebrated in his time, called ^avpoKTwv [the 
Lizard-killer. Y The lizard, being fuppofed to live upon the dews 
and moifture of the earth, is employed as the fymbol of humidity 
in general ; fo that the god deftroying it, fignifies the fame as the 
lion devouring the horfe. The title Apollo, I am inclined to 
believe, meant originally the Deftroyer, as well as the Deliverer ; 
for, as the ancients fuppofed deftrudion to be merely diflblution, 
the power which delivered the particles of matter from the bonds 
of attraction, and broke the Sea/xov Trepi/SptOr} epcoro^, was in faft the 
deftroyer.^ It is, probably, for this reafon, that fudden death, 
plagues, and epidemic difeafes, are faid by the poets to be fent by ■ 
this god ; who is, at the fame time, defcribed as the author of 
medicine, and all the arts employed to preferve life. Thefe attri- 
butes are not joined merely becaufe the deftroyer and preferver 
were efientially the fame ; but becaufe difeafe neceflarily precedes 

^ The word in Gejiejis upon which it is founded, conveyed no fuch fenfe to the 
ancients ; for the Seventy tranflated it eiroirjo-e, which figmiies forme J, or fajh toned. 

2 Hijl. Nat. lib. xxxiv. c. 8. Many copies of it are ftill extant. Winkleman 
has publifhed one from a bronze of Cardinal Albani's. Monum. J?itichi inediti, 
Plate XL. 

3 The verb Xuo), from which Apollo is derived, fignifies in Homer both to free 
and to diflblve or dellroy, //. a, ver. 20 ; //. /, ver. 25. Macrobius derives the 
title from airoXXvfii, to dejlroy ; but this word is derived from \vo3 Sat. lib. i. c. 17. 


cure, and is the caufe of its being invented. The God of Health 
is faid to be his fon, becaufe the health and vigour of one being 
are fupported by the decay and diflblution of others which are ap- 
propriated to its nourifhment. The bow and arrows are given to 
him as fymbols of his charaderiftic attributes, as they are to Diana, 
who was the female perfonification of the deftrudiive, as well as the 
produd:ive and preferving powers. Diana is hence called the triple 
Hecate, and reprefented by three female bodies joined together. 
Her attributes were however worshipped feparately ; and fome 
nations revered her under one character, and others under another. 
Diana of Ephefus was the produ6tive and nutritive power, as the 
many breafts and other fymbols on herftatues imply ;^ whilft Bpt/ico, 
the T'auric or Scythic Diana, appears to have been the deftruftive, 
and therefore was appeafed with human facrifices, and other bloody 
rites.^ She is reprefented fometimes ftanding on the back of a 
bull,'* and fometimes in a chariot drawn by bulls ;* whence fhe is 
called by the poets TavpoiroXa^ and Bocov eXarcipa^' Both compo- 
fitions fhow the pafhve power of nature, whether creative or 
deftrudlive, fuftained and guided by the general adive power of 
the creator, of which the fun was the centre, and the bull the 

It was obferved by the ancients, that the deftrucflive power of 
the fun was exerted moft by day, and the creative by night : for it 
was in the former feafon that he dried up the waters, withered the 
herbs, and produced difeafe and putrefadion ; and in the latter, 

' Hieron. Comment, in Paul Epiji. ad Ephes. ^ Paufan. lib. iii. c. i6. 

3 See a medal of Auguftus, publifhed by Spanheim. Not. in Callim. Hymn, ad 
Dian. ver. 113. 

* Plate VI., from a bronze in the mufeum of C. Townley, Efq. 

^ Sophoclis Ajax, vtr. 172. 

6 Nonni Dionys. lib. i. the title Tau/jOTToXo? was fometimes given to Apollo, 
Euilath. Schol. in Dionys. YiepLTj^rja.^ ver. 609. 


that he returned the exhalations in dews, tempered with the genial 
heat which he had transfufed into the atmofphere, to reftore and 
replenifh the wafte of the day. Hence, when they perfonified the 
attributes, they revered the one as the diurnal, and the other as the 
no5furnal fun, and in their myftic worfhip, as Macrobius fays,^ 
called the former Apollo, and the latter Dionyfus or Bacchus. 
The mythological perfonages of Caftor and Pollux, who lived and 
died alternately, were allegories of the fame dogma ; hence the two 
aflerifcs, by which they are diftinguifhed on the medals of Locri, 
Argos, and other cities. 

The p^ans, or war-fongs, which the Greeks chanted at the on- 
fet of their battles,^ were originally fung to Apollo,^ who was called 
Pseon ; and Macrobius tells us,* that in Spain, the fun was wor- 
fhipped as Mars, the god of war and deftrudion, whose ftatue they 
adorned with rays, like that of the Greek Apollo. On a Celtiberian 
or Runic medal found in Spain, of barbarous workmanlhip, is a 
head furrounded by obelifcs or rays, which I take to be of this 
deity .'^ The hairs appear ered, to imitate flames, as they do on 
many of the Greek medals ; and on the reverfe is a bearded head, 
with a fort of pyramidal cap on, exadly refembling that by which 
the Romans conferred freedom on their (laves, and which was 
therefore called the cap of liberty.'' On other Celtiberian medals 
is a figure on horfeback, carrying a fpear in his hand, and having 
the fame fort of cap on his head, with the word Helman written 

1 Sat. lib. i. c. i8. ^ Thucyd. lib. vii. 

3 Homer. //. a, v. 472. ^ Sat. lib. i. c. 19. 

5 Plate X Fig. 2, engraven from one belonging to me. I have fince been con- 
firmed in this conjefture by obferving the charafters of Mars and Apollo mixt on 
Greek coins. On a Mamertine one belonging to me is a head with the youthful 
features and laurel crown of Apollo ; but the hair is Ihort, and the infcription on the 
exergue denotes it to be Mars. See Plate xvi. Fig. 2. 

6 It may be feen with the dagger on the medals of Brutus. 


under him/ in characflers which are fomething between the old 
Runic and Pelafgian ; but fo near to the latter, that they are eafily 
underftood.^ This figure feems to be of the fame perfon as is 
reprefented by the head with the cap on the preceding medal, who 
can be no other than the angel or minifter of the deity of death, 
as the name implies; for Hela, or Hel, was, among the Northern 
nations, the goddefs of death,^ in the fame manner as Perfiphoneia 
or Brimo was among the Greeks. The fame figure appears on 
many ancient Britifh medals, and alfo on thofe of feveral Greek 
cities, particularly thofe of Gela, which have the Taurine Bacchus 
or Creator on the reverfe/ The head which I have fuppofed to be 
the Celtiberian Mars, or deftrudive power of the diurnal fun, is 
beardlefs like the Apollo o^ the Greeks, and, as far as can be dif- 
covered in fuch barbarous fculpture, has the fame androgynous 
features/ We may therefore reafonably fuppofe, that, like the 
Greeks, the Celtiberians perfonified the deftrudlive attribute under 
the different genders, accordingly as they applied it to the fun, or 
fiibordinate elements ; and then united them, to fignify that both 
were effentially the fame. The Helman therefore, who was the 
fame as the MoipajTjrr]'; or AtaKTco^ of the Greeks, may with equal 
propriety be called the minifter o{ both or either. The fpear in his 
hand is not to be confidered merely as the implement of deftrudion, 
but as the fymbol of power and command, which it was in Greece 
and Italy, as well as all over the North. Hence evdwetv Sopi^ was 

^ See Plate ix. Fig. 9, from one belonging to me. 

2 The iirft is a mixture of the Runic Hagle and Greek H. The fecond is the 
Runic Laugur, which is alfo the old Greek A, as it appears on the vafe of the 
Calydonian Boar in the Britifh Mufeum. The other three differ little from the 
common Greek. 

3 Edda. Fab. xvi. D'Hancarville, Recherches fur les Arts, liv. ii. c. 1. 
^ See Plate ix. Fig. 11, from one belonging to me. 

^ Sec Plate x. Fig. 2, 


to govern^ and venire Juh hajid^ — to be fold as a Jlave. The ancient 
Celtes and Scythians paid divine honors to the fword, the battle- 
axe, and the fpear ; the firft of which was the fymbol by which 
they reprefented the fupreme god : hence to fwear by the edge 
of the fword was the moft facred and inviolable of oaths.'"^ Euri- 
pides alludes to this ancient religion when he calls a fword opKcov 
^i(j)o<; ; and i^fchylus fhows clearly, that it once prevailed in 
Greece, when he makes the heroes of the Thebaid fwear by the 
point of the fpear [o/xwo-l 8'acxM^^)- Homer fometimes ufes the 
word api]<; to fignify the God of War, and fometimes a weapon : 
and we have fufficient proof of this word's being of Celtic origin in 
its affinity with our Northern word PFar; for, if we write it in the 
ancient manner, with the Pelafgian Fau, or ^Eolian Digamma^ Yapr)<t 
{JVares)^ it fcarcely differs at all. 

Behind the bearded head, on the firft-mentioned Celtiberian 
medal is an inftrument like a pair of fire-tongs, or blackfmith's 
pincers ;^ from which it feems that the perfonage here reprefented 
is the fame as the 'H^ato-To? or Vulcan of the Greek and Roman 
mythology. The fame ideas are expreffed fomewhat more plainly 
on the medals of ^fernia in Italy, which are executed with all the 
refinement and elegance of Grecian art.^ On one fide is Apollo, the 
diurnal fun, mounting in his chariot; and on the other a beardlefs 
head, with the fame cap on, and the fame inftrument behind it, 
but with the youthful features and elegant charader of countenance 
ufually attributed to Mercury, who, as well as Vulcan, was the 
God of Art and Mechanifm ; and whofe peculiar office it alfo was 
to condud the fouls of the deceafed to their eternal manfions, from 
whence came the epithet Ata/crw^, applied to him by Homer. He 
was, therefore, in this refped, the fame as the Helman of the 

' Eurip. Hecuba. ^ Mallet, hitrod. a r HiJI. de Datiemarc, c. 9. 

3 'ETTTaeTTt S-nfia<;, v. 535. ^ Plate x. Fig. 2. 

^ See Plate x. Fig. 6, from one belonging to me. 


Celtes and Scythians, who was fuppofed to condudl the fouls of all 
who died a violent death (which alone was accounted truly happy) 
to the palace of Valhala.^ It feems that the attributes of the deity 
which the Greeks reprefented by the mythological perfonages of 
Vulcan and Mercury, were united in the Celtic mythology. Caefar 
tells us that the Germans worfhipped Vulcan, or fire, with the 
fun and moon ; and I fhall foon have occafion to fhow that the 
Greeks held fire to be the real conductor of the dead, and emanci- 
pator of the foul. The i^fernians, bordering upon the Samnites, 
a Celtic nation, might naturally be fuppofed to have adopted the 
notions of their neighbours, or, what is more probable, preferved 
the religion of their anceftors more pure than the Hellenic Greeks. 
Hence they reprefented Vulcan, who, from the infcription on the 
exergue of their coins, appears to have been their tutelar god, with 
the charafteriftic features of Mercury, who was only a different 
perfonification of the fame deity. 

At Lycopolis in Egypt the destroying power of the fun was repre- 
fented by a wolf; which, as Macrobius fays, was worfhipped there as 
Apollo.'^ The wolf appears devouring grapes in the ornaments of 
the temple of Bacchus Tre/at/ciowo? atPuzzuoli f and on the medals 
of Cartha he is furrounded with rays, which plainly proves that he 
is there meant as a fymbol of the fun."* He is alfo reprefented on 
moft of the coins of Argos,^ where I have already fhown that the 
diurnal fun Apollo, the light-extending god, was peculiarly wor- 
fhipped. We may therefore conclude, that this animal is meant 
for one of thfe myflic fymbols of the primitive worfhip, and not, 
as fome antiquarians have fuppofed, to commemorate the mvtho- 
logical tales of Danaus or Lycaon, which were probably invented, 

^ Mallet, ////?. de Daneviarc. Introd. c. 9. 2 5^;/ \\\^ \ q 17 

3 Plate XVI. Fig. i. ^ Plate x. Fig. 8, from one belonging to me. 

^ Plate IX. Fig. 7, from one belonging to me. 



like many others of the fame kind, to fatisfy the inquifitive igno- 
rance of the vulgar, from whom the meaning of the myftic fymbols, 
the ufual devices on the medals, was ftridly concealed. In the 
Celtic mythology, the fame fymbol was employed, apparently in 
the fame fenfe, Lok, the great deftroying power of the univerfe, 
being reprefented under the form of a wolf.^ 

The Apollo Didymaeus, or double Apollo, was probably the two 
perfonifications, that of the deftroying, and that of the creating 
power, united; whence we may perceive the reafon why the orna- 
ments before defcribed fhould be upon his temple.^ On the medals 
of Antigonus, king of Afia, is a figure with his hair hanging in 
artificial ringlets over his fhoulders, like that of a woman, and the 
whole compofition, both of his limbs and countenance, remarkable 
for extreme delicacy, and feminine elegance.^ He is fitting on the 
prow of a fhip, as god of the waters ; and we fhould, without 
hefitation, pronounce him to be the Bacchus St^y?^?, were it not for 
the bow that he carries in his hand, which evidently fiiows him 
to be Apollo. This I take to be the figure under which the 
refinement of art (and more was never fhown than in this medal) 
reprefented the Apollo Didymaeus, or union of the creative and 
deftrudive powers of both fexes in one body. 

As fire was the primary eflence of the adive or male powers of 
creation and generation, fo was water of the pafTive or female. 
Appian fays, that the goddefs worfhipped at Hierapolis in Syria 
was called by Jome Venus, by others Juno, and by others held to be 
the cauje which produced the beginning and feeds of things from 
humidity.'' Plutarch defcribes her nearly in the fame words f and 

' Mallet, hitrod. a V Hijl. de Danemarc. 
■^ See loniaii Antiq. vol. i. c. 3, PI. ix. 

' See Plate x. Fig. 7, from one belonging to me. Similar figures are on the coins 
of moil of the Seleucids. " ' De Bella Parthico. ' In Craffo. 

OF PR] A PUS. 83 

the author of the treatife attributed to Lucian^ {lySyf/ie was Nature, 
the parent of things, or the creatrejs. She was therefore the fame 
as Ifis, who was the prolific material upon which both the creative 
and deftru6live attributes operated." As water was her terreftrial 
eflence, so was the moon her celeftial image, whofe attractive power, 
heaving the waters of the ocean, naturally led men to afTociate 
them. The moon was alfo fuppofed to return the dews which the 
fun exhaled from the earth; and hence her warmth was reckoned 
to be moiftening, as that of the fun was drying.^ The Egyptians 
called her the Mother of the World, becaufe fhe fowed and fcattered 
into the air the prolific principles with which fhe had been impreg- 
nated by the fun.* Thefe principles, as well as the light by which 
fhe was illumined, being fuppofed to emanate from the great foun- 
tain of all life and motion, partook of the nature of the being 
from which they were derived. Hence the Egyptians attributed to 
the moon, as well as to the fun, the adive and pafiive powers of 
generation,^ which were both, to ufe the language of the fcholaftics, 
ejjentially the fame, though /orw^z/Zy different. This union is repre- 
fented on a medal of Demetrius the fecond, king of Syria,'' where 
the goddefs of Hierapolis appears with the male organs of genera- 
tion flicking out of her robe, and holding the thyrfus of Bacchus, 
the emblem of fire, in one hand, and the terreftrial globe, repre- 
fenting the fubordinate elements, in the other. Her head is 
crowned with various plants, and on each fide is an aflerifc repre- 
fenting (probably) the diurnal and nodiurnal iun, in the fame 
manner as when placed over the caps of Caflor and Pollux.^ This 
is not the form under which fhe was reprefented in the temple at 

1 De Dea Syrid. 2 Plutarch. J e If. iff Of. 

3 Calor foHs arefacit, lunaris humeSiat. Macrob. Sat. vn. c. 10. 

* Plutarch, de If isf Of •'• Ibid, 

s Plate X. Fig. 5, from Haym, Tcf Brit. p. 70. 

■^ See Plate ix. Fig. 7. 


Hierapolis, when the author of the account attributed to Lucian 
vifited it ; which is not to be wondered at, for the figures of this 
uni verfal goddefsjbeing merely emblematical,were compofed accord- 
ing to the attributes which the artifts meant particularly to exprefs. 
She is probably reprefented here in the form under which fhe was 
worfhipped in the neighbourhood of Cyzicus, where fhe was called 
A/ore/ii? UpLaTTivT], tht Priapic Diana} In the temple at Hierapolis 
the adtive powers imparted to her by the Creator were reprefented 
by immenfe images of the male organs of generation placed on 
each fide of the door. The meafures of thefe muft necefi"arily be 
corrupt in the prefent text of Lucian ; but that they were of an 
enormous fize we may conclude from what is related of a man's 
going to the top of one of them every year, and refiding there 
feven days, in order to have a more intimate communication with 
the deity, while praying for the profperity of Syria.^ Athenaeus 
relates, that Ptolemy Philadelphus had one of 120 cubits long 
carried in procefiion at Alexandria,^ of which the poet might juflily 
have faid — 

Horrendum protendit Mentula contum 
Quanta queat vaftos Thetidis fpumantis hiatus; 
Quanta queat prifcamque Rheam, magnamque parentem 
Naturam, folidis naturam implere medullis. 
Si foret immenfos, quot ad allra volantia currunt, 
Conceptura globos, et tela trifulca tonantis, 
Et vaga concufTum motura tonitrua mundum. 

This was the real meaning of the enormous figures at Hierapolis : 
— they were the generative organs of the creator perfonified, with 
which he was fuppofed to have impregnated the heavens, the earth, 
and the waters. Within the temple were many fmall ftatues of 
men with thefe organs difproportionably large. Thefe were the 
angels or attendants of the goddefs, who ailed as her minifl:ers of 

' Plutarch. /» Lucullo. " Lucian. de Dea Syria. ^ Deipnof. lib. 


creation in peopling and frudlifying the earth. The ftatue of the 
goddefs herlt'lf was in the fanduary of the temple; and near it 
was the ftatue of the creator, whom the author calls Jupiter, as he 
does the goddefs, Juno; by which he only means that they were 
the fupreme deities of the country where worfiiipped. She was 
borne by lions, and he by bulls, to fhow that nature, the paftive 
producftive power of matter, was fuftained by anterior deftruftion, 
whilft the ietherial fpirit, or a(5tive productive power, was fuftained 
by his own ftrength only, of which the bulls were fymbols.^ Be- 
tween both was a third figure, with a dove on his head, which fome 
thought to be Bacchus." This was the Holy Spirit, the firft- 
begotten love, or plaftic nature, (of which the dove was the image 
when it really deigned to defcend upon man,'^) proceeding from, 
and confubftantial with both ; for all three v^trt but perfonifications 
o^ one. The dove, or fome fowl like it, appears on the medals of 
Gortyna in Crete, afting the fame part with Didynna, the Cretan 
Diana, as the fwan is ufually reprefented adling with Leda.* This 
compofition has nearly the fame fignification as that before defcribed 
of the bull in the lap of Ceres, Diana being equally a perfonification 
of the produdive power of the earth. It may feem extraordinary, 
that after this adventure with the dove, ftie fhould ftill remain a 
virgin ; but myfteries of this kind are to be found in all religions. 
Juno is faid to have renewed her virginity every year by bathing 
in a certain fountain ; '"' a miracle which I believe even modern 
legends cannot parallel. 

• The adive and pajjive powers of creation are called male and female by the 
Ammonian Platonics. See Proclus in Theol. Platon. lib. i. c. 28. 

2 Lucian. de Dea Syria. 3 Matth. ch. iii. ver. 17. 

* See Plate in. Fig. 5. KaXbai 8e Ttjv Aprefiiv (^paK€<i BevSeiav, K/3j;Te? Se 
AiKTVVvav. Pala;ph. Je bicreJ. Tab. xxxi. See alio Diodor. Sic. lib. v. & Euripid. 
Hippo I. V. 145. 

^ Paulan. lib. ii. c. 38. 


In the vifion of Ezekiel, God is defcribed as defcending upon 
the combined forms of the eagle, the bull, and the lion,^ the 
emblems of the fetherial fpirit, the creative and deftru6live powers, 
which were all united in the true God, though hypoftatically 
divided in the Syrian trinity. Man was compounded with them, 
as reprefenting the real image of God, according to the Jewifh 
theology. The cherubim on the ark of the covenant, between 
which God dwelt,^ were alfo compounded of the fame forms,^ fo 
that the idea of them muft have been prefent to the prophet's mind, 
previous to the apparition which furnifhed him with the defcription. 
Even thofe on the ark of the covenant, though made at the exprefs 
command of God, do not appear to have been original ; for a 
figure exadly anfwering to the defcription of them appears among 
thofe curious ruins exifting at Chilminar, in Perfia, which have 
been fuppofed to be thofe of the palace of Perfepolis, burnt by 
Alexander ; but for what reafon, it is not eafy to conjefture. They 
do not, certainly, anfwer to any ancient defcription extant of that 
celebrated palace; but, as far as we can judge of them in their 
prefent ftate, appear evidently to have been a temple.* But the 
Perfians, as before obferved, had no inclofed temples or ftatues, 
which they held in fuch abhorrence, that they tried every means 
poffible to deftroy thofe of the Egyptians; thinking it unworthy 
of the majefty of the deity to have his all-pervading prefence 
limited to the boundary of an edifice, or likened to an image of 
flone or metal. Yet, among the ruins at Chilminar, we not only 
find many flatues, which are evidently of ideal beings,' but alfo that 
remarkable emblem of the deity, which diflinguifhes almofl all the 

1 Ezek. ch. i. ver. lo, with Lowth's Comm. 

2 Exod. ch. XXV. ver. 22. 

3 Spencer de Leg. Ritual Vet. Hebraor. lib. iii. diflert. 5. 

4 See Le Bruyn, Vo;jage en Perfe, Planche cxxiii. 

5 See Le Bruyn and Niebuhr, 


Egyptian temples now extant.^ The portals are alfo of the fame 
form as thofe at Thebes and Philit ; and, except the hieroglyphics 
which diftinguifh the latter, are finifhed and ornamented nearly in 
the fame manner. Unlefs, therefore, we fuppofe the Perfians to 
have been fo inconfiftent as to ered; temples in dired: contradiction 
to the firft principles of their own religion, and decorate them with 
fymbols and images,which they held to be impious and abominable, 
we cannot fuppofe them to be the authors of thefe buildings. 
Neither can we fuppofe the Parthians, or later Perfians, to have 
been the builders of them ; for both the ftyle of workmanfhip in 
the figures, and the forms of the letters in the infcriptions, denote 
a much higher antiquity, as will appear evidently to any one who 
will take the trouble of comparing the drawings publifhed by 
Le Bruyn and Niebuhr with the coins of the Arfacidae and 
SaiTanidas. Almoft all the fymbolical figures are to be found re- 
peated upon different Phoenician coins ; but theletters of the Phceni- 
cians, which are faid to have come to them from the Affyrians, 
are much lefs fimple, and evidently belong to an alphabet 
much further advanced in improvement. Some of the figures are 
alfo obfervable upon the Greek coins, particularly the bull and lion 
fighting, and the myftic flower, which is the confl:ant device of the 
Rhodians. The ftyle of workmanftiip is alfo exadly the fame as 
that of the very ancient Greek coins of Acanthus, Celendaris, and 
Lefbos; the lines being very ftrongly marked, and the hair exprefled 
by round knobs. The wings likewife of the figure, which refembles 
the Jewifli cherubim, are the fame as thofe upon feveral Greek 
fculptures now extant ; fuch as the little images of Priapus attached 
to the ancient bracelets, the compound figures of the goat and lion 

^ See Plate xviii. Fig. i from the Ifiac Table, and Plate xix. Fig. 5 from Nie- 
buhr's prints of Chilminar. See alio Plate xviil. Fig. 2 and Plate xix. Fig i from 
the Ifiac Tables and the Egyptian Portals publifhed by Norden and Pocockc, on 
every one of which this fingular emblem occurs. 


upon the frieze of the Temple of Apollo Didymaeus, &c. &c.^ 
They are likewife joined to the human figure on the medals of 
Melita and Camarina,^ as well as upon many ancient fculptures in 
relief found in Perfia;^ The feathers in thefe wings are turned up- 
wards like thofe of an oftrich,* to which however they have no 
refemblance in form, but feem rather like thofe of a fowl brooding, 
though more diftorted than any I ever obferved in nature. Whether 
this diftortion was meant to exprefs luft or incubation, I cannot 
determine ; but the compofitions, to which the wings are added, 
leave little doubt, that it was meant for the one or the other. I 
am inclined to believe that it was for the latter, as we find on the 
medals of Melita a figure with four of thefe wings, who feems by his 
attitude to be brooding over fomething.^ On his head is the cap of 
liberty, whilfl: in his right hand he holds the hook or attraftor, and 
in his left the winnow or feparator ; fo that he probably reprefents 
the E/3ft)9, or generative fpirit brooding over matter, and giving 
liberty to its produdive powers by the exertion of his own attri- 
butes, attradion and feparation. On a very ancient Phoenician 
medal brought from Afia by Mr. Pullinger, and publifhed very 
incorredly by Mr. Swinton in the Philofophical Tranfaftions of 
1760, is a diic or ring furrounded by wings of different forms, of 
which fome of the feathers are diftorted in the fame manner.^ The 
fame difc, furrounded by the fame kind of wings, inclofes the 
afterifc of the fun over the bull Apis, or Mnevis, on the Ifiac 
Table,^ where it alfo appears with many of the other Egyptian 

1 See Le Bruyn, Planche cxxiii. Ionia7i Antiquities, vol. i. c. 3. Plate ix., and 
Plate n. Fig. 2. 

2 See Plate xx. Fig. 2, from one of Melita, belonging to me. 

3 See Le Bruyn, Planche cxxi. 

■* As thofe on Figures defcribed by Ezekiel were. See c. i. v. 11. 

^ See Plate xx. Fig, 2, engraved from one belonging to me. 

c See Plate ix. Fig. 9, engraved from the original medal, wovf belonging to me. 

7 See Plate xix. Fig. i, from Pignorius. 


fymbols, particularly over the heads oflfisand Ofiris.^ It is aifo 
placed over the entrances of moft of the Egyptian temples defcribed 
by Pococke and Norden as well as on that reprefented on the Ifiac 
Table,'^ though with feveral variations, and without the afterifc. 
We find it equally without the afterifc, but with little or no varia- 
tion, on the ruins at Chilmenar, and other fuppofed Perfian anti- 
quities in that neighbourhood:' but upon fome of the Greek 
medals the afterifc alone is placed over the bull with the human 
face,' who is then the fame as the Apis or Mnevis of the Egyptians ; 
that is, the image of the generative power of the fun, which is fig- 
nified by the afterifc on the Greek medals, and by the kneph, or 
winged difc, on the Oriental monuments. The Greeks however 
fometimes employed this latter fymbol, but contrived, according to 
their ufual pradice, to join it to the human figure, as may be feen 
on a medal of Camarina, publiftied by Prince Torremmuzzi.'' On 
other medals of this city the fame idea is exprefied, without the 
difc or afterifc, by a winged figure, which appears hovering over a 
fwan, the emblem of the waters, to ftiow the generative power of 
the fun fruftifying that element, or adding the active to t\\Q.paJfive 
powers of production/' On the medals of Naples, a winged figure 
of the fame kind is reprefented crowning the Taurine Bacchus with 
a wreath of laurelJ This antiquarians have called a Vidory 
crowning the Minotaur; but the fabulous monfter called the Mi- 
notaur was never faid to have been victorious, even by the poets 

^ See Plate xviii. Fig. 2, from Pignorius. 

2 See Plate xvui. Fig. i, from Pignorius. 

3 See Niebuhr and Le Bruyn, and Plate xix. Fig. 2, from the former. 

* See Plate iv. Fig. 2, and Plate xix. Fig. 4, from a medal of Cales, belonging 
to me. 

* See Plate xxi. Fig. 2, copied from it. 

6 See Plate xxi. Fig. 3, from one belonging to me. 
' See Plate xix. Fig. 5. The coins are common in all colledlions. 



who invented it; and whenever the fculptors and painters repre- 
fented it, they joined the head of a bull to a human body, as may 
be feen in the celebrated pifture of Thefeus, publifhed among the 
antiquities of Herculaneum, and on the medals of Athens, ftruck 
about the time of Severus, when the ftyle of art was totally changed, 
and the myftic theology extind;. The winged figure, which has 
been called a Vidlory, appears mounting in the chariot of the fun, 
on the medals of queen Philiftis,^ and, on fome of thofe of Syra- 
cufe, flying before it in the place where the aflerifc appears on others 
of the fame city.^ I am therefore perfuaded, that thefe are only 
different modes of reprefenting one idea, and that the winged figure 
means the fame, when placed over the Taurine Bacchus of the 
Greeks,as the winged difcdoes over the Apis orMnevis of the Egyp- 
tians. The i^^gis, or fnaky breaftplate, and the Medufa's head, 
are alfo, as Dr. Stukeley juftly obferved,^ Greek modes of repre- 
fenting this winged difc joined with the ferpents, as it frequently is, 
both in the Egyptian fculptures, and thofe of Chilmenar in Perfia. 
The expreffions of rage and violence, which ufually charad:erife the 
countenance of Medufa,fignify the defliroying attribute joined with 
the generative, as both were equally under the direction of Minerva, 
or divine wifdom. I am inclined to believe, that the large rings, 
to which the little figures of Priapus are attached,* had alfo the 
fame meaning as the difc; for, if intended merely to fufpend them 
by, they are of an extravagant magnitude, and would not anfwer 
their purpofe fo well as a common loop. 

On the Phoenician coin above mentioned, this fymbol, the 
winged difc, is placed over a figure fitting, who holds in his hands 
an arrow, whilft a bow, ready bent, of the ancient Scythian form. 

1 See PlateSxxi. Fig. 4, from one belonging to me. 

2 See Plate xxi. Fig. 5 and 6, from coins belonging to me. 

3 Abury, p. 93. z* See Plate 11. Fig. i, and Plate in. Fig. 2. 


lies by him.^ On his head is a large loofe cap, tied under his chin, 
which I take to be the lion's fkin, worn in the fame manner as on 
the heads of Hercules, upon the medals of Alexander; but the 
work is fo fmall, though executed with extreme nicety and precifion, 
and perfectly preferved, that it is difficult to decide with certainty 
what it reprefents, in parts of fuch minutenefs. The bow and 
arrows, we know, were the ancient arms of Hercules;'^ and con- 
tinued fo, until the Greek poets thought proper to give him the 
club.^ He was particularly worfhipped at Tyre, the metropolis 
of Phoenicia ;"* and his head appears in the ufual form, on many of 
the coins of that people. We may hence conclude that he is the 
perfon here reprefented, notwithftanding the difference in the ftyle 
and compofition of the figure, which may be accounted for by the 
difference of art. The Greeks, animated by the fpirit of their 
ancient poets, and the glowing melody of their language, were 
grand and poetical in all their compofitions ; whilft the Phoenicians, 
who fpoke a harfh and untuneable dialed, were unacquainted with 
fine poetry, and confequently with poetical ideas ; for words being 
the types of ideas, and the figns or marks by which men not only 
communicate them to each other, but arrange and regulate them in 
their own minds, the genius of a language goes a great way towards 
forming the charader of the people who ufe it. Poverty of ex- 
preffion will produce poverty of conception ; for men will never be 
able to form fublime ideas, when the language in which they think 
(for men always think as well as fpeak in fome language) is inca- 
pable of expreffing them. This may be one reafon why the Phoe- 
nicians never rivalled the Greeks in the perfedion of art, althoucrh 
they attained a degree of excellence long before them ; for Homer, 
whenever he has occafion to fpeak of any fine piece of art, takes 

^ See Plate ix. Fig. \o b. 2 Homer's OJyJf. A, ver. 606. 

3 Strabo, lib. xiv. ■* Macrob, Sat. lib. i. c. 20. 


care to inform us that it was the work of Sidonians. He alfo 
mentions the Phoenician merchants bringing toys and ornaments 
of drefs to fell to the Greeks, and pradifing thofe frauds which 
merchants and fadors are apt to pradife upon ignorant people.^ 
It is probable that their progrefs in the fine arts, like that of the 
Dutch (who are the Phoenicians of modern hiftory), never went 
beyond a ftrid imitation of nature; which, compared to the more 
elevated graces of ideal compofition, is like a newfpaper narrative 
compared with one of Homer's battles. A figure of Hercules, 
therefore, executed by a Phoenician artift, if compared to one by 
Phidias or Lyfippus, would be like a picture of Mofes or David, 
painted by Teniers, or Gerard Dow, compared to one of the fame, 
painted by Raphael or Annibal Caracci. This is exadly the differ- 
ence between the figures on the medal now under confideration,and 
thofe on the coins of Gelo or Alexander. Of all the perfonages 
of the ancient mythology, Hercules is perhaps the mofl difficult to 
explain; for phyfical allegory and fabulous hiflory are fo entangled 
in the accounts we have of him, that it is fcarcely poffible to fepa- 
rate them. He appears however, like all the other gods, to have 
been originally a perfonified attribute of the fun. The eleventh of 
the Orphic Hymns^ is addreffed to him as the flrength and power 
of the fun; and Macrobius fays that he was thought to be the 
flrength and virtue of the gods, by which they deflroyed the 
giants; and that, according to Varro, the Mars and Hercules of 
the Romans were the fame deity, and worfhipped with the fame 
rites.^ According to Varro then, whofe authority is perhaps the 
greateft that can be cited, Hercules was the deflroying attribute 
reprefented in a human form, inftead of that of a lion, tiger, or 
hippopotamus. Hence the terrible pidure drawn of him by 
Homer, which always appeared to me to have been taken from 

1 Homer. Odyjf. o, ver. 414. ^ Ed. Gefner. ^ ^^t. lib. i. c. 20. 



fome fymbolical ftatue, which the poet not underftanding, fuppofed 
to be of the Theban hero, who had aflumed the title of the deity, 
and whofe fabulous hiftory he was well acquainted with. The 
defcription however applies in every particular to the allegorical 
perfonage. His attitude, for ever fixed in the acft of letting fly his 
arrow,^ with the figures of lions and bears, battles and murders, 
which adorn his belt, all unite in reprefenting him as the deftru6live 
attribute perfonified. But how happens it then that he is fo fre- 
quently reprefented ftrangling the lion, the natural emblem of this 
power ? Is this an hiftorical fable belonging to the Theban hero, 
or a phyfical allegory of the deftrudive power defl:roying its own 
force by its own exertions ? Or is the fingle attribute perfonified 
taken for the whole power of the deity in this, as in other infl:ances 
already mentioned? The Orphic Hymn above cited feems to 
favour this laft conjedure ; for he is there addreffed both as the 
devourer and generator of all (na/A^a7e, 770776^6x0)^). However 
this may be, we may fafely conclude that the Hercules armed with 
the bow and arrow, as he appears on the prefent medal, is like the 
Apollo, the deftroying power of the diurnal fun. 

On the other fide of the medaP is a figure, fomewhat like the 
Jupiter on the medals of Alexander and Antiochus, fitting with a 
beaded fceptre in his right hand, which he refi;s upon the head of 
a bull, that projeds from the fide of the chair. Above, on his 
right fiioulder, is a bird, probably a dove, the fymbol of the Holy 
Spirit, defcending from the fun, but, as this part of the medal is 
lefs perfed than the reft:, the fpecies cannot be clearly difcovered. 
In his left hand he holds a ftiort fl:afF, from the upper fide of which 
fprings an ear of corn, and from the lower a bunch of grapes, 
which being the two moft eflieemed produdions of the earth, were 
the natural emblems of general fertilization. This figure is there- 

' Atct BaXeoi/Tt eoiKa><i. Od^jjf. \, vcr. 607. '' See Plate ix. Fig. 10 a. 


fore the generator, as that on the other fide is the deftroyer, whilft 
the fun, of whofe attributes both are perfonifications, is placed be- 
tween them. The letters on the fide of the generator are quite 
entire, and, according to the Phoenician, alphabet publifhed by Mr. 
Dutens, are equivalent to the Roman ones which compofe the 
words Baal "Thrz^ of which Mr. Swinton makes Baal 'Tarz^ and 
tra.n{[a.tQS Jupifer of Tar/us ; whence he concludes that this coin 
was ftruck at that city. But the firft letter of the laft word is not 
a "Teth, but a l^hau, or afpirated T; and, as the Phoenicians had a 
vowel anfwering to the Roman A, it is probable they would have 
inferted it, had they intended it to be founded : but we have no 
reafon to believe that they had any to exprefs the U or Y, which 
muft therefore be comprehended in the preceding confonant when- 
ever the found is expreffed. Hence I conclude that the word here 
meant is Thyrz or T/iurz, the Thor or T/iur of the Celtes and 
Sarmatians, the Thurra of the AfTyrians, the 'Turan of the Tyr- 
rhenians or Etrufcans, the 'Taurine Bacchus of the Greeks, and the 
deity whom the Germans carried with them in the fhape of a bull, 
when they invaded Italy ; from whom the city of Tyre, as well as 
Tyrrhenia, or Tufcany, probably took its name. His fymbol the 
bull, to which the name alludes, is reprefented on the chair or 
throne in which he fits ; and his fceptre, the emblem of his autho- 
rity, refts upon it. The other word, Baal, was merely a title in 
the Phoenician language, fignifying God, or Lord ;^ and u fed as an 
epithet of the fun, as we learn from the name Baal-bec [the city of 
Baal), which the Greeks rendered Heliopolis ( the city of the fun). 
Thus does this fingular medal fhow the fundamental principles 
of the ancient Phoenician religion to be the fame as thofe which 
appear to have prevailed through all the other nations of the 
northern hemifphere. Fragments of the fame fyftem every where 

* Cleric. Comm. in z Reg. c. i. ver. 2. 



occur, varioufly exprefled as they were varioufly underftood, and 
oftentimes merely preferved without being underftood at all; the 
ancient reverence being continued to the fymbols, when their 
meaning was wholly forgotten. The hypojlatical divifion and 
e[Jential unity of the deity is one of the moft remarkable parts of 
this fyftem, and the fartheft removed from common fenfeand reafon ; 
and yet this is perfectly reafonable and confiftent, if confidered 
together with the reft of it : for the emanations and perfonifications 
were only figurative abftradtions of particular modes of ad:ion and 
exiftence, of which the primary caufe and original eflence ftill con- 
tinued one and the fame. 

The three hypoftafes being thus only one being, each hypoftafis 
is occafionally taken for all ; as is the cafe in the paffage of 
Apuleius before cited, where Ifis defcribes herfelf as the univerfal 
deity. In this character ftie is reprefented by a fmall bafaltine 
figure, of Egyptian fculpture, at Strawberry Hill, which is covered 
over with fymbols of various kinds from top to bottom.^ That of 
the bull is placed loweft, to fhow that the ftrength or power of the 
creator is the foundation and fupport of every other attribute. 
On her head are towers, to denote the earth; and round her neck 
is hung a crab-fifti, which, from its power of fpontaneoufly de- 
taching from its body, and naturally reproducing, any limbs that 
are hurt or mutilated, became the fymbol of the produdive power 
of the waters ; in which fenfe it appears on great numbers of 
ancient medals of various cities.^ The nutritive power is fignified 

' A print of one exaftly the fame is publiftied by Montfaucon, Antiq. exfliq. 
vol. i. Plate xciii. Fig. i. 

- See thofe of Agrigentum, Himera, and Cyrene. On a fmall one of the firft- 
mentioned city, belonging to me, a crofs, the abbreviated fymbol of the male powers 
of generation, approaches the mouth of the crab, while the cornucopia iflues from it 
(lee Plate xx. Fig. 3): the one reprefents the caufe, and the other the effeft, of 


by her many breafts, and the deftruftive by the lions which fhe 
bears on her arms. Other attributes are expreffed by various other 
animal fymbols, the precife meaning of which I have not fagacity 
fufficient to difcover. 

This univerfality of the goddefs was more concifely reprefented 
in other figures of her, by the myftic inftrument called a Syjlrum, 
which fhe carried in her hand. Plutarch has given an explanation 
of it,^ which may ferve to fhow that the mode here adopted of 
explaining the ancient fymbols is not founded merely upon con- 
jefture and analogy, but alfo upon the authority of one of the moft 
grave and learned of the Greeks. The curved top, he fays, repre- 
fented the lunar orbit, within which the creative attributes of the 
deity were exerted, in giving motion to the four elements, fignified 
by the four rattles below.^ On the centre of the curve was a cat, 
the emblem of the moon; who, from her influence on the con- 
ftitutions of women, was fuppofed to prefide particularly over the 
paffive powers of generation;^ and below, upon the bafe, a head 
of Ifis or Nepthus; inftead of which, upon that which I have had 
engraved, as well as upon many others now extant, are the male 
organs of generation, reprefenting the adive powers of the creator, 
attributed to Ifis with the paffive. The clattering noife, and 
various motions of the rattles being adopted as the fymbols of the 
movement and mixture of the elements from which all things are 
produced; the found of metals in general became an emblem of 
the fame kind. Hence, the ringing of bells, and clattering of 
plates of metal, were ufed in all lufl;rations, facrifices, &c.* The 
title Priapus, applied to the charac^erifliic attribute of the creator. 

1 De Is. tsf Os. 

2 See Plate x. Fig. 4, engraved from one in the colledlion of R. Wilbraham, Efq. 

3 Cic. de Nat. Deor. lib. ii. c. 46. 

4 Clem. Alex. II/oot^. p. 9. Schol. in Theocrit. Idyll. 11. ver. 36. 


and fometimes to the Creator himfelf, is probably a corruption of 
BptaTTuo? (clamorous or loud); for the B and IT being both labials, 
the change of the one for the other is common in the Greek 
language. We ftill find many ancient images of this fymbol, with 
bells attached to them/ as they were to the facred robe of the 
high prieft of the Jews, in which he adminiftered to the Creator.^ 
The bells in both were of a pyramidal form,' to fhew the aetherial 
igneous eflence of the god. This form is ftill retained in thofe 
ufed in our churches, as well as in the little ones rung by the 
Catholic priefts at the elevation of the hoft. The ufe of them was 
early adopted by the Chriftians, in the fame fenfe as they were 
employed by the later heathens; that is, as a charm againft evil 
daemons;'* for, being fymbols of the aAive exertions of the creative 
attributes, they were properly oppofed to the emanations of the 
deftrudive. The Lacedemonians ufed to beat a pan or kettle- 
drum at the death of their king,'' to affift in the emancipation of 
his foul at the diftblution of the body. We have a fimilar cuftom 
of tolling a bell on fuch occafions, which is very generally prac- 
tifed, though the meaning of it has been long forgotten. This 
emancipation of the foul was fuppofed to be finally performed by 
fire; which, being the vifible image and adive eflence of both the 
creative and deftrudlive powers, was very naturally thought to be 
the medium through which men paffed from the prefent to a 
future life. The Greeks, and all the Celtic nations, accordingly, 
burned the bodies of the dead, as the Gentoos do at this day; 
while the Egyptians, among whom fuel was extremely fcarce, 

1 Bronzi delP Hercol. Tom. vi. Plate xcviii. 
' Exod. ch. xxviii. 

3 Bronzi deir Hercol. Tom. vi. Plate xcvni. Maimonidcs in Patrick's Com- 
mentary on ExoduSy ch. xxviii. 

^ Ovid. Faji. lib. v. ver. 441. Schol. in Theocrit. Idyll, ii. ver. 36. 
5 Schol. in Theocrit. Idyll, ii. ver. 36. 



placed them in pyramidal monuments, which were the fymbols of 
fire ; hence come thofe prodigious ftrudures which ftill adorn that 
country. The foul which was to be emancipated was the divine 
emanation, the vital fpark of heavenly flame, the principle of reafon 
and perception, which was perfonified into the familiar daemon, or 
genius, fuppofed to have the direction of each individual, and to 
difpofe him to good or evil, wifdom or folly, and all their con- 
fequences of profperity and adverfity/ Hence proceeded the 
doftrines, fo uniformly inculcated by Homer and Pindar,^ of all 
human adions depending immediately upon the gods ; which were 
adopted, with fcarcely any variations, by fome of the Chriftian 
divines of the apoftolic age. In the Pafl:or of Hermas, and 
Recognitions of Clemens, we find the angels of juftice, penitence, 
and forrow, infliead of the genii, or daemons, which the ancients 
fuppofed to direct men's minds and infpire them with thofe parti- 
cular fentiments. St. Paul adopted the flill more comfortable 
do6lrine of grace, which ferved full as well to emancipate the 
confciences of the faithful from the fhackles of practical morality. 
The familiar daemons, or divine emanations, were fuppofed to 
refide in the blood ; which was thought to contain the principles of 
vital heat, and was therefore forbidden by Mofes.^ Homer, who 
feems to have coUefted little fragments of the ancient theology, and 
introduced them here and there, amidft the wild profufion of his 
poetical fables, reprefents the fhades of the deceafed as void of 
perception, until they had tafled of the blood of the vidims offered 

' Pindar. Pyth. v. ver. 164. Sophocl. Trachin, ver. 922. Hor. lib. ii. epift. ii. 
ver. 187. 

^ E/c Seoiv fMa'x,avaL irdcraL ^poreai'i apeTai<;, kul (TO(f>oi. Kai %epcri yStarat, 
TrepiyXcoaaoi r' £cf)VP. Pindar. Pytb. i. ver. 79. Paffages to the fame purpofe occur 
in almoil every page of the Iliad 2.nd OdyJJey. 

'' Levit. ch. xvii. ver. 11 & 14. 


by Ulyfles ;' by which their faculties were renewed by a reunion 
with the divine emanation, from which they had been feparatcd. 
The foul of Tirefias is faid to be entire in hell, and to poflefs alone 
the power of perception, becaufe with him this divine emanation 
ftill remained. The fhade of Hercules is defcribed among the 
other ghofts, though he himfelf, as the poet fays, was then in 
heaven ; that is, the adive principle of thought and perception 
returned to its native heaven, whilft the paffive, or merely fenfitive, 
remained on earth, from whence it fprung.'- The final feparation 
of thefe two did not take place till the body was confumed by fire, 
as appears from the ghoft of Elpenor, whofe body being ftill entire, 
he retained both, and knew Ulyfles before he had tafted of the 
blood. It was from producing this feparation, that the univerfal 
Bacchus, or double Apollo, the creator and deftroyer, whofe 
eflence was fire, was alfo called At/cwr?;?, the purifier,-' by a metaphor 
taken from the winnow, which purified the corn from the duft and 
chaff, as fire purified the foul from its terreftrial pollutions. Hence 
this inftrument is called by Virgil the myftic winnow of Bacchus.* 
The Ammonian Platonics and Gnoftic Chriftians thought that 
this feparation, or purification, might be effefted in a degree even 
before death. It was for this purpofe that they pradifed fuch rigid 
temperance, and gave themfelves up to fuch intenfe ftudy ; for, by 
fubduing and extenuating the terreftrial principle, they hoped to 
give liberty and vigour to the celeftial, fo that it might beenabled 
to afcend diredly to the intelleftual world,pure andunincumbered.'' 

' OdyJJ'. \, ver. 152. 

' Thofe who wifh to lee the difference between fenfation and perception clearly 
and fully explained, may be fatisfied by reading the EJ/ai aualytique fur P Ame, by 
Mr. Bonnet. 

Orph. Hymn. 45. ■" Myjlica vannus lacchi. Georg. i. ver. 166. 

' Plotin. Ennead. vi. lib. iv. ch. 16. Moflieim, Not. y in Cudw. Syjl. Inteli 
ch. V. fedt. 20. 


The clergy afterwards introduced Purgatory, inftead of abftrad 
meditation and ftudy ; which was the ancient mode of feparation 
by fire, removed into an unknown country, where it was faleable 
to all fuch of the inhabitants of this world as had fufficient wealth 
and credulity. 

It was the celeftial or setherial principle of the human mind, 
which the ancient artifts reprefented under the fymbol of the 
butterfly, which may be confidered as one of the moft elegant alle- 
gories of their elegant religion. This infedl, when hatched from 
the egg, appears in the fhape of a grub, crawling upon the earth, 
and feeding upon the leaves of plants. In this fliate, it was aptly 
made the emblem of man, in his earthly form, in which the aetherial 
vigour and adivity of the celeflial foul, the divine particula mentis, 
was fuppofed to be clogged and incumbered with the material body. 
When the grub was changed to a chryfalis, its ftillnefs, torpor, and 
infenfibility feemed to prefent a natural image of death, or the inter- 
mediate fliate between the cefl^ation of the vital fundions of the 
body and the final releafement of the foul by the fire, in which the 
body was confumed. The butterfly breaking from the torpid 
chryfalis, and mounting in the air, was no lefs natural an image of 
the celeftial foul burfting from the reftraints of matter, and mixing 
again with its native aether. The Greek artifts, always ftudious of 
elegance, changed this, as well as other animal fymbols, into a 
human form, retaining the wings as the charaderiftic members, by 
which the meaning might be known. The human body, which 
they added to them, is that of a beautiful girl, fometimes in the age 
of infancy, and fometimes of approaching maturity. So beautiful 
an allegory as this would naturally be a favourite fubjed of art 
among a people whofe tafte had attained the utmoft pitch of refine- 
ment. We accordingly find that it has been more frequently and 
more varioufly repeated than any other which the fyftem of emana- 
tions, fo favourable to art, could afford. 


Although all men were fuppofed to partake of the divine 
emanation in a degree, it was not fuppofed that they all partook 
of it in an equal degree. Thofe who (howed fuperior abilities, and 
diftinguifhed themfelves by their fplendid actions, were fuppofed to 
have a larger fhare of the divine eflence, and were therefore adored 
as gods, and honoured with divine titles, expreifive of that parti- 
cular attribute of the deity with which they feemed to be moft 
favoured. New perfonages were thus enrolled among the alle- 
gorical deities; and the perfonified attributes of the fun were con- 
founded with a Cretan and TheiTalian king, an Afiatic conqueror, 
and a Theban robber. Hence Pindar, who appears to have been 
a very orthodox heathen, fays, that the race of men and gods is 
one, that both breathe from one mother, and only differ in power.^ 
This confufion of epithets and titles contributed, as much as any 
thing, to raife that vaft and extravagant fabric of poetical mytho- 
logy, which, in a manner, overwhelmed the ancient theology, 
which was too pure and philofophical to continue long a popular 
religion. The grand and exalted fyftem of a general firft caufe, 
univerfally expanded, did not fuit the grofs conceptions of the 
multitude; who had no other way of conceiving the idea of an 
omnipotent god, but by forming an exaggerated image of their 
own defpot, and fuppofing his power to confift in an unlimited 
gratification of his paffions and appetites. Hence the univerfal 
Jupiter, the aweful and venerable, the general principle of life 
and motion, was transformed into the god who thundered from 
Mount Ida, and was lulled to fleep in the embraces of his wife; 
and hence the god whofe fpirit moved" upon the face of the waters, 

1 Nem. V. ver. i . 

^ So the tranflators have rendered the expreflion of the original, which literally 
means brooding as a fowl on its eggs, and alludes to the fymbols of the ancient 
theology, which I have before obferved upon. See Patrick's Commentary.. 


and impregnated them with the powers of generation, became a 
great king above all gods, who led forth his people to fmite the 
ungodly, and rooted out their enemies from before them. 

Another great means of corrupting the ancient theology, and 
eftablifhing the poetical mythology, was the pradtice of the artifts in 
reprefenting the various attributes of the creator under human 
forms of various character and expreffion. Thefe figures, being 
diftinguifhed by the titles of the deity which they were meant 
to reprefent, became in time to be confidered as diftind perfonages, 
and worfhipped as feparate fubordinate deities. Hence the many- 
fhaped god, the ttoXu/ao/j^o? and fivpio/xop(f)0'; of the ancient theo- 
logifts, became divided into many gods and goddeffes, often de- 
fcribed by the poets as at variance with each other, and wrangling 
about the little intrigues and paffions of men. Hence too, as the 
fymbols were multiplied, particular ones loft their dignity ; and that 
venerable one which is the fubjed; of this difcourfe, became degraded 
from the reprefentative of the god of nature to a fubordinate rural 
deity, a fuppofed fon of the Afiatic conqueror Bacchus, ftanding 
among the nymphs by a fountain,^ and exprefting the fertility ot 
a garden, inftead of the general creative power of the great adlive 
principle of the univerfe. His degradation did not ftop even here ; 
for we find him, in times ftill more prophane and corrupt, made a 
fubjed of raillery and infult, as anfwering no better purpofe than 
holding up his rubicund fnout to frighten the birds and thieves.^ 
H is talents were alfo perverted from their natural ends, and employed 
in bafeand abortive efforts in conformity to the tafte of the times; 
for men naturally attribute their own paffions and inclinations to 
the objeds of their adoration; and as God made man in his own 
image, fo man returns the favour, and makes God in his. Hence 
we find the higheft attribute of the all-pervading fpirit and firft- 

' Theocrit. Idyll, i. ver. 21. ^ Horat. lib. i. Sat. viii. Virg. Georg. iv. 


begotten love foully proftituted to promifcuous vice, and calling 
out, H^c cunnum^ caput hie, pr^beat ille nates? 

He continued however ftill to have his temple, prieftefs and 
facred geefe,'"^ and offerings of the moft exquifite kind were made to 
him : 

Criflabitque tibi excuflis. pulcherrima lumbis 
Hoc anno primum cxperta puella virum. 

Sometimes, however, they were not fo fcrupulous in the feledlion 
of their vidims, but fuffered frugality to reftrain their devotion : 

Cum iacrum fieret Deo falaci 
Condufta ell pretio puella parvo/ 

The bride was ufually placed upon him immediately before mar- 
riage ; not, as Lacflantius fays, ut ejus pudicitiam prior Deus pra- 
libajfe videatur^ but that fhe might be rendered fruitful by her 
communion with the divine nature, and capable of fulfilling the 
duties of her ftation. In an ancient poem* we find a lady of the 
name of Lalageprefentingthe pictures of the " Elephantis" to him, 
and gravely requefting that fhe might enjoy the pleafures over 
which he particularly prefided, in all the attitudes defcribed in that 
celebrated treatife.'' Whether or not fhe fucceeded, the poet has 
not informed us ; but we may fafely conclude that fhe did not 
truft wholly to faith and prayer, but, contrary to the ufual practice 
of modern devotees, accompanied her devotion with fuch good 
works as were likely to contribute to the end propofed by it. 

When a lady had ferved as the vi(!l:im in a facrifice to this god, 
fhe expreffed her gratitude for the benefits received, by offering 
upon his altar certain fmall images reprefenting his charaderiflic 

' Priap. Carm. 21. * Petron. Satyric. 

' Priap. Carm. 34. * Priap. Carm. 3. 

' The Elephantis was written by one Philcenis, and feems to have been o^ the 
fame kind with the Puttana errante of Aretin. 


attribute, the number of which was equal to the number of men 
who had aded as priefts upon the occafion/ On an antique gem, 
in the colleftion of Mr. Townley, is one of thefe fair viftims, who 
appears juft returned from a facrifice of this kind, and devoutly- 
returning her thanks by offering upon an altar fome of thefe 
images, from the number of which one may obferve that fhe has 
not been neglefted.'^ This offering of thanks had alfo its myftic 
and allegorical meaning ; for fire being the energetic principle and 
effential force of the Creator, and the fymbol above mentioned the 
vifible image of his charadleriftic attribute, the uniting them was 
uniting the material with the effential caufe, from whofe joint 
operation all things were fuppofed to proceed. 

Thefe facrifices, as well as all thofe to the deities prefiding over 
generation, were performed by night: hence Hippolytus, in Euri- 
pides, fays, to exprefs his love of chaftity, that he likes none of the 
gods revered by night.^ Thefe adis of devotion were indeed 
attended with fuch rites as muft naturally fhock the prejudices of a 
chafte and temperate mind, not liable to be warmed by that ecftatic 
enthufiafm which is peculiar to devout perfons when their attention 
is abforbed in the contemplation of the beneficent powers of the 
Creator, and all their faculties direded to imitate him in the 
exertion of his great charafteriftic attribute. To heighten this 
enthufiafm, the male and female faints of antiquity ufed to lie pro- 
mifcuoufly together in the temples, and honour God by a liberal 
difplay and general communication of his bounties.^ Herodotus, 
indeed, excepts the Greeks and Egyptians, and Dionyfius of Hali- 
carnaffus, the Romans, from this general cuftom of other nations ; 
but to the teftimony of the former we may opp.ofe the thoufand 
facred proftitutes kept at each of the temples of Corinth and 

1 Priap. Carm. 34. Ed. Scioppii. ^ See Plate iii. Fig. 3. 

3 Ver. 613. ^ Herodot. lib. ii. 



Eryx;^ and to that of the latter the exprefs words of Juvenal, 
who, though he lived an age later, lived when the fame religion, 
and nearly the fame manners, prevailed.^ Diodorus Siculus alfo 
tells us, that when the Roman praetors vifited Eryx, they laid 
afide their magifterial feverity, and honoured the goddefs by mix- 
ing with her votaries, and indulging themfelves in the pleafures 
over which fhe prefided.^ It appears, too, that the ad of genera- 
tion was a fort of facrament in the ifland of Lefbos; for the device 
on its medals (which in the Greek republics had always fome 
relation to religion) is as explicit as forms can make it/ The 
figures appear indeed to be myftic and allegorical, the male having 
evidently a mixture of the goat in his beard and features, and there- 
fore probably reprefents Pan, the generative power of the univerfe, 
incorporated in univerfal matter. The female has all that breadth 
and fulnefs which charaderife the perfonification of the paflive 
power, known by the titles of Rhea, Juno, Ceres, &c. 

When there were fuch feminaries for female education as thofe 
of Eryx and Corinth, we need not wonder that the ladies of anti- 
quity fhould be extremely well inftru6ted in all the practical duties 
of their religion. The ftories told of Julia and Meflalina fhow us 
that the Roman ladies were no ways deficient; and yet they were 
as remarkable for their gravity and decency as the Corinthians 
were for their fkill and dexterity in adapting themfelves to all the 
modes and attitudes which the luxuriant imaginations of expe- 
rienced votaries have contrived for performing the rites of their 
tutelar goddefs.^ 

The reafon why thefe rites were always performed by night, 
was the peculiar fandtity attributed to it by the ancients, becaufe 
dreams were then fuppofed to defcend from heaven to infl:ru(5l and 

1 Strab. lib. viii. 2 Sat. ix. ver. 24. 3 Lib. iv. Eii. Wejfel. 

4 See Plate ix. Fig. 8, from one belonging to me. 

5 Philodemi Epigr. Brunk. Anale8. vol. ii. p. 8$. 


forewarn men. The nights, fays Hefiod, belong to the blefled 
gods;^ and the Orphic poet calls night the fource of all things 
{yravToiv r^eveai<;) to denote that produdive power, which, as I have 
been told, it really pofleffes; it being obferved that plants and 
animals grow more by night than by day. The ancients extended 
this power much further, and fuppofed that not only the pro- 
ductions of the earth, but the luminaries of heaven, were nourifhed 
and fuftained by the benign influence of the night. Hence that 
beautiful apofl:rophe in the "Eledra" of Euripides, O w^ fieXaiva, 
Xpvaecov acrrpcov rpo^e^ &c. 

Not only the facrifices to the generative deities, but in general 
all the religious rites of the Greeks, were of the feftive kind. To 
imitate the gods, was, in their opinion, to feafl: and rejoice, and to 
cultivate the ufeful and elegant arts, by which we are m ade par- 
takers of their felicity.^ This was the cafe with almofl: all the 
nations of antiquity, except the^ Egyptians and their reformed 
imitators the Jews,* who being governed by a hierarchy, endea- 
voured to make it awful and venerable to the people by an appear- 
ance of rigour and aufl:erity. The people however, fometimes 
broke through this refliraint, and indulged themfelves in the more 
pleafing worfliip of their neighbours, as when they danced and 
feafl:ed before the golden calf which Aaron ereded,^ and devoted 
themfelves to the worfhip of obfcene idols, generally fuppofed to be 
of Priapus, under the reign of Abijam.'' 

The Chrifliian religion, being a reformation of the Jewifli, rather 
increafed than diminiflied the auflierity of its original. On particular 
occafions however it equally abated its rigour, and gave way to 
feftivity and mirth, though always with an air of fandlity and 

1 E/37. ver. 730. 2 Strabo, lib. x. ^ Herodot, lib. ii. 

4 See Spencer de Leg. Rit. Vet. Hebraor. ^ Exod. ch. xxxii. 

6 ^1?^. c. XV. ver. 13. Ed. Cleric. 


folemnity. Such were originally the feafts of the Eucharift, 
which, as the word exprefles, were meetings of joy and gratulation ; 
though, as divines tell us, all of the fpiritual kind : but the parti- 
cular manner in which St. Auguftine commands the ladies who 
attended them to wear clean linen,^ feems to infer, that perfonal as 
well as fpiritual matters were thought worthy of attention. To 
thofe who adminifler the facrament in the modern way, it may 
appear of little confequence whether the women received it in clean 
linen or not ; but to the good bifhop, who was to adminifler the 
holy ki/s, it certainly was of fome importance. The holy kifs was 
not only applied as a part of the ceremonial of the Eucharift, but 
alfo of prayer, at the conclufion of which they welcomed each other 
with this natural fign of love and benevolence.'^ It was upon thefe 
occafions that they worked themfelves up to thofe fits of rapture 
and enthufiafm, which made them eagerly rufh upon deftrudtion in 
the fury of their zeal to obtain the crown of martyrdom.^ En- 
thufiafm on one fubjedl naturally produces enthufiafm on another ; 
for the human paffions, like the ftrings of an inftrument, vibrate to 
the motions of each other : hence paroxyfms of love and devotion 
have oftentimes fo exadlyaccorded,asnottohavebeendiftinguifhed 
by the very perfons whom they agitated.* This was too often the 
cafe in thefe meetings of the primitive Chriftians. The feafts of 
gratulation and love, the a^airat and nofturnal vigils, gave too 
flattering opportunities to the paffions and appetites of men, to 
continue long, what we are told they were at firft, pure exercifes of 
devotion. The fpiritual raptures and divine ecftafies encouraged 
on thefe occafions, were often ecftafies of a very different kind, con- 
cealed under the garb of devotion ; whence the greateft irregularities 
enfued; and it became necefTary for the reputation of the church, 

1 Aug. Serm. clii. 2 Juftin Martyr. Apolog. 

3 Martini Kempii de Ofculis DiJ/ert. viii. ■* See Proces de la Cadi'cre. 


that they fhould be fupprefled, as they afterwards were by the 
decrees of feveral councils. Their fuppreffion may be confidered 
as the final fubverfion of that part of the ancient religion which I 
have here undertaken to examine ; for fo long as thofe nodurnal 
meetings were preferved, it certainly exifted, though under other 
names, and in a more folemn drefs. The fmall remain of it preferved 
at Ifernia, of which an account has here been given, can fcarcely be 
deemed an exception ; for its meaning was unknown to thofe who 
celebrated it ; and the obfcurity of the place, added to the vener- 
able names of S. Cofimo and Damiano, was all that prevented it 
from being fupprefled long ago, as it has been lately, to the great 
difmay of the chafte matrons and pious monks of Ifernia. Traces 
and memorials of it feem however to have been preferved, in many 
parts of Chrifl:endom, long after the aftual celebration of its 
rites ceafed. Hence the obfcene figures obfervable upon many of 
our Gothic Cathedrals, and particularly upon the ancient brafs 
doors of St. Peter's at Rome, where there are fome groups which 
rival the devices on the Lefbian medals. 

It is curious, in looking back through the annals of fuperftition, 
fo degrading to the pride of man, to trace the progrefs of the 
human mind in different ages, climates, and circumflances, uni- 
formly afting upon the fame principles, and to the fame ends. The 
fketch here given of the corruptions of the religion of Greece, is an 
exaft counterpart of the hiflory of the corruptions of Chriflianity, 
which began in the pure theifm of the ecleftic Jews,^ and by the help 
of infpirations, emanations, and canonizations, expanded itfelf, by 
degrees, to the vafl and unwieldy fyftem which now fills the creed 
of what is commonly called the Catholic Church. In the ancient 
religion, however, the emanations afTumed the appearance of moral 

1 Compare the doftrines of Philo with thofe taught in the Gofpel of St, John, and 
Epiftles of St. Paul. 


virtues and phyfical attributes, inftead of miniftering fpirits and 
guardian angels; and the canonizations or deifications were beftowed 
upon heroes, legiflators, and monarchs, inftead of priefts, monks, 
and martyrs. There is alfo this further difference, that among the 
moderns philofophy has improved, as religion has been corrupted ; 
whereas, among the ancients, religion and philofophy declined to- 
gether. The true folar fyftem was taught in the Orphic fchool, and 
adopted by the Pythagoreans, the next regularly-eftablifhed fed. 
The Stoics corrupted it a little, by placing the earth in the centre 
of the univerfe, though they ftill allowed the fun its fuperior mag- 
nitude.^ At length arofe the Epicureans, who confounded it 
entirely, maintaining that the fun was only a fmall globe of fire, a 
few inches in diameter, and the ftars little tranfitory lights, whirled 
about in the atmofphere of the earth.^ 

How ill foever adapted the ancient fyftem of emanations was 
to procure eternal happinefs, it was certainly extremely well calcu- 
lated to produce temporal good ; for, by the endlefs multiplication 
of fubordinate deities, it effedually excluded two of the greateft 
curfes that ever afflidled the human race, dogmatical theology, and 
its confequent religious perfecution. Far from fuppofing that the 
gods known in their own country were the only ones exifting, the 
Greeks thought that innumerable emanations of the divine mind 
were diffufed through every part of the univerfe ; fo that new 
objects of devotion prefented themfelves wherever they went. 
Every mountain, fpring, and river, had its tutelary deity, befides 
the numbers of immortal fpirits that were fuppofed to wander 
in the air, fcattering dreams and vifions, and fuperintending the 
affairs of men. 

1 Brucker, ////?. Crit. Philof. p. ii. lib. ii. c. 9. f. i. 

2 Lucret. lib. v. ver. 565, & feq. 


T/3t9 ya^ fivptoL eLcriv eiri ')(6ovi, Trovku^oreLp-q 
AdavaTOL Z-qvof, (f)v\aK€'i OvrjTWV avd pwirwv .'^ 

An adequate knowledge of thefe they never prefumed to think 
attainable, but modeftly contented themfelves with revering and 
invoking them whenever they felt or wanted their affiftance. 
When a ihipwrecked mariner was caft upon an unknown coaft, he 
immediately offered up his prayers to the gods of the country, 
whoever they were; and joined the inhabitants in whatever rites 
they thought proper to propitiate them with.'^ Impious or pro- 
phane rites he never imagined could exift, concluding that all 
expreffions of gratitude and fubmiffion mufl be pleafing to the 
gods. Atheifm was, indeed, punifhed at Athens, as the obfcene 
ceremonies of the Bacchanalians were at Rome ; but both as civil 
crimes againft the ftate ; the one tending to weaken the bands of 
fociety by deftroying the fancftity of oaths, and the other to fubvert 
that decency and gravity of manners, upon which the Romans fo 
much prided themfelves. The introdudion of ftrange gods, with- 
out permiffion from the magiftrate, was alfo prohibited in both 
cities ; but the reftridion extended no farther than the walls, there 
being no other parts of the Roman empire, except Judea, in which 
any kind of impiety or extravagance might not have been main- 
tained with impunity, provided it was maintained merely as a fpecu- 
lative opinion, and not employed as an engine of fadion, ambition, 
or oppreffion. The Romans even carried their condefcenfion fo 
far as to enforce the obfervance of a dogmatical religion, where 
they found it before eftablifhed ; as appears from the condud; of 
their magiftrates in Judea, relative to Chrift and his apoftles ; and 

iHefiod. EpyaKUi ^Hfiep. ver.z52, fxvptoi^SiC, are always ufed as indefinites by 
the ancient Greek poets. 

2 See Homer. OJyJ/] e, ver. 445, & feq. The Greeks feem to have adopted 
by degrees into their own ritual all the rites praftifed in the neighbouring countries. 


fromwhat Jofephus has related, of a Roman foldier's being punifhed 
with death by his commander for infulting the Books of Mofes. 
Upon what principle then did they ad, when they afterwards per- 
fecuted the Chriftians with fo much rancour and cruelty? Perhaps 
it may furprife perfons not ufed to the ftudy of ecclefiaftical 
antiquities, to be told (what is neverthelefs indifputably true) that 
the Chriftians were never perfecuted on account of the fpeculative 
opinions of individuals, but either for civil crimes laid to their 
charge, or for withdrawing their allegiance from the ftate, and 
joining in a federative union dangerous by its conftitution, and 
rendered ftill more dangerous by the intolerant principles of its 
members, who often tumultuoufly interrupted the public worftiip, 
and continually railed againft the national religion (with which 
both the civil government and military difcipline of the Romans 
were infeparably conneded), as the certain means of eternal damna- 
tion. To break this union, was the great objed of Roman policy 
during a long courfe of years; but the violent means employed 
only tended to cement it clofer. Some of the Chriftians themfelves 
indeed, who were addided to Platonifm, took a fafer method to 
diflblve it ; but they were too few in number to fucceed. This 
was by trying to moderate the furious zeal which gave life and 
vigour to the confederacy, and to blend and foften the unyielding 
temper of religion with the mild fpirit of philofophy. "We all," 
faid they, "agree in worftiipping one fupreme God, the Father 
and Preferver of all. While we approach him with purity of 
mind, fmcerity of heart, and innocence of manners, forms and 
ceremonies of worftiip are indifferent; and not lefs worthy of his 
greatnefs, for being varied and diverfified according to the various 
cuftoms and opinions of men. Had it been his will that all ftiould 
have worftiipped him in the fame mode, he would have given to 
all the fame inclinations and conceptions: but he has wifely ordered 
it otherwife, that piety and virtue might increafe by an honeft 


emulation of religions, as induftry in trade, or adivity in a race, 
from the mutual emulation of the candidates for wealth and 
honour,"^ This was too liberal and extenfive a plan, to meet the 
approbation of a greedy and ambitious clergy, whofe objeft was 
to eftablifh a hierarchy for themfelves, rather than to procure 
happinefs for others. It was accordingly condemned with vehe- 
mence and fuccefs by Ambrofius, Prudentius, and other orthodox 
leaders of the age. 

It was from the ancient fyftem of emanations, that the general 
hofpitality which charaderifed the manners of the heroic ages, and 
which is fo beautifully reprefented in the Odyjfey of Homer, in a 
great meafure arofe. The poor, and the ftranger who wandered in 
the ftreet and begged at the door, were fuppofed to be animated 
by a portion of the fame divine fpirit which fuftained the great 
and powerful. They are all from Jupiter, fays Homer, and a Jmall 
gift is acceptable? This benevolent fentiment has been compared 
by the Englifh commentators to that of the Jewifh moralift, 
who fays, that he who giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord, who 
will rep ay him tenfold? But it is fcarcely poffible for anything to 
be more different: Homer promifes no other reward for charity 
than the benevolence of the aftion itfelf; but the Ifraelite holds 
out that which has always been the great motive for charity among 
his countrymen — the profped of being repaid ten-fold. They are 
always ready to fhow their bounty upon fuch incentives, if they 
can be perfuaded that they are founded upon good fecurity. It 
was the opinion, however, of many of the moft learned among the 
ancients, that the principles of the Jewifh religion were originally 
the fame as thofe of the Greek, and that their God was no other 
than the creator and generator Bacchus,* who, being viewed 

1 Symmach. Ep. i o ^ 6 1 . Themift. Orat ad Imperat. 

2 Qdyjf. ^, ver. 207. 3 See Pope's Odyjfey. ^ Tacit. Hijior. lib. v. 



through the gloomv medium of the hierarchy, appeared to them 
a jealous and irafcible God; and fo gave a more auftere and 
unfociable form to their devotion. The golden vine preferved in 
the temple at Jerufalem/ and the taurine forms of the cherubs, 
between which the Deity was fuppofed to refide, were fymbols fo 
exadlly fimilar to their own, that they naturally concluded them 
meant to exprefs the fame ideas ; efpecially as there was nothing 
in the avowed principles of the Jewifh worfhip to which they could 
be applied. The ineffable name alfo, which, according to the 
Mafforethic punctuation, is pronounced Jehovah^ was anciently 
pronounced Jaho^ law, or levco^ which was a title of Bacchus, the 
nodurnal fun;^ as was alfo SabaziuSy or Sabadius^ which is the 
fame word as Sabbaoth^ one of the fcriptural titles of the true God, 
only adapted to the pronunciation of a more polifhed language. 
The Latin name for the Supreme God belongs alfo to the fame 
root; Iv-iraTTjp^ Jupiter, fignifying Father leu', though written after 
the ancient manner, without the diphthong, which was not in ufe 
for many ages after the Greek colonies fettled in Latium, and intro- 
duced the Arcadian alphabet. We find St. Paul likewife acknow- 
ledging, that the Jupiter of the poet Aratus was the God whom 
he adored;^ and Clemens of Alexandria explains St. Peter's pro- 
hibition of worfhipping after the manner of the Greeks, not to 
mean a prohibition of worfhipping the fame God, but merely of 
the corrupt mode in which he was then worfhipped.*' 

1 The vine and goblet of Bacchus arc alfo the ufual devices upon the Jewifh and 
Samaritan coins, which were ftruclc under the Afmonean kings. 

~ Hieron. Comm. in Pfalm. viii. Diodor. Sic. lib. i. Philo-Bybl. ap. Eufeb. 
Prep. Evang. lib. 1. c. ix. 

3 Macrob. Sat. lib. i. c. xviii. ^ Ibid. ^ ASl. Apojl. c. xvii. ver. 28. 

^ Stromal, lib. v. 









ICHARD PAYNE KNIGHT has written withgreat 

learning on the origin and hiftory of the worfliip of 
Priapus among the ancients. This worfhip, which 
was but a part of that of the generative powers, 
appears to have been the moft ancient of the fuper- 
ftitions of the human race/ has prevailed more or lefs among 
all known peoples before the introduction of Chriftianity, and, 
fingularly enough, fo deeply it feems to have been implanted in 
human nature, that even the promulgation of the Gofpel did not 
abolifh it, for it continued to exift, accepted and often encouraged 
by the mediaeval clergy. The occasion of Payne Knight's work. 

^ There appears to be a chance of this worfhip being claimed for a very early 
period in the hiftory of the human race. It has been recently ftated in the " Moni- 
teur," that, in the province of Venice, in Italy, excavations in a bone-cave have 
brought to light, beneath ten feet of ftalagmite, bones of animals, moftly poft- 
tertiary, of the ufual defcription found in fuch places, flint implements, with a needle 
of bone having an eye and point, and a plate of an argillaceous compound, on which 
was fcratched a rude drawing of a phallus. — Moniteur, Jan. 1865. 


was the difcovery that this worfhip continued to prevail in his time, 
in a very remarkable form, at Ifernia in the kingdom of Naples, a 
full defcription of which will be found in his work. The town of 
Ifernia was deftroyed, with a great portion of its inhabitants, in the 
terrible earthquake which fo fearfully devaftated the kingdom of 
Naples on the 26th of July, 1805, nineteen years after the appear- 
ance of the book alluded to. Perhaps with it perifhed the laft trace 
of the worfhip of Priapus in this particular form ; but Payne Knight 
was not acquainted with the fad that this fuperftition, in a variety 
of forms, prevailed throughout Southern and Weftern Europe 
largely during the Middle Ages, and that in fome parts it is hardly 
extind at the prefent day ; and, as its effeds were felt to a more 
confiderable extent than people in general fuppofe in the moft inti- 
mate and important relations of fociety, whatever we can do to 
throw light upon its mediaeval exiftence, though not an agreeable 
fubjed, cannot but form an important and valuable contribution to 
the better knowledge of mediaeval hiftory. Many interefting fads 
relating to this fubjed were brought together in a volume publifhed 
in Paris by Monfieur J. A. Dulaure, under the title, Des Divin- 
ites Generatrices chez les Anciens et les Modernes, forming part of 
an Hijloire Ahregee des differens Cukes, by the fame author.^ This 
book, however, is ftill very imperfed ; and it is the defign of the 
following pages to give, with the moft interefting of the fads 
already colleded by Dulaure, other fads and a defcription and 
explanation of monuments, which tend to throw a greater and 
more general light on this curious fubjed. 

The medieval worftiip of the generative powers, reprefented by 
the generative organs, was derived from two diftind fources. In 
the firft place, Rome invariably carried into the provinces ftie had 

1 The fecond edition of this work, publifhed in 1825, is by much the beft, and 
is confiderably enlarged from the firft. 


conquered her own inftitutions and forms of wor{hip,and eftahlifhed 
them permanently. In exploring the antiquities of thefe provinces, 
we are aftonifhed at the abundant monuments of the worfhip of 
Priapus in all the fhapes and with all the attributes and accompani- 
ments, with which we are already fo well acquainted in Rome and 
Italy. Among the remains of Roman civilization in Gaul, we 
find ftatues or ftatuettes of Priapus, altars dedicated to him, the 
gardens and fields entrufted to his care, and the phallus, or male 
member, figured in a variety of fhapes as a proteding power againft 
evil influences of various kinds. With this idea the well-known 
figure was fculptured on the walls of public buildings, placed in 
confpicuous places in the interior of the houfe, worn as an orna- 
ment by women, and fufpended as an amulet to the necks of chil- 
dren. Erotic fcenes of the mofl: extravagant defcription covered 
veflels of metal, earthenware, and glafs, intended, no doubt, for 
feft;ivals and ufages more or lefs connected with the worfhip of the 
principle of fecundity. 

At Aix in Provence there was found, on or near the fite of the 
ancient baths, to which it had no doubt fome relation, an enormous 
phallus, encircled with garlands, fculptured in white marble. At 
Le Chatelet, in Champagne, on the fite of a Roman town, a coloffal 
phallus was alfo found. Similar objeds in bronze, and of fmaller 
dimenfions, are fo common, that explorations are feldom carried on 
upon a Roman fite in which they are not found, and examples of 
fuch objefts abound in the mufeums, public or private, of Roman 
antiquities. The phallic worfhip appears to have flourifhed efpecially 
at Nemaufus, now reprefented by the city of Nimes in the fouth of 
France, where the fymbol of this worfhip appeared in fculpture on 
the walls of its amphitheatre and on other buildings, in forms fome 
of which we can hardly help regarding as fanciful, or even playful. 
Some of the more remarkable of thefe are figured in our plates, 
XXV and xxvi. 


The firft ofthefe/ is the figure of a double phallus. Itisfculp- 
tured on the lintel of one of the vomitories, or ifTues, of the fecond 
range of feats of the Roman amphitheatre, near the entrance-gate 
which looks to the fouth. The double and the triple phallus are 
very common among the fmall Roman bronzes, which appear to 
have ferved as amulets and for other fimilar purpofes. In the latter, 
one phallus ufually ferves as the body, and is furnifhed with legs, 
generally thofe of the goat ; a fecond occupies the ufual place of 
this organ ; and a third appears in that of a tail. On a pilafter of 
the amphitheatre of Nimes we fee a triple phallus of this defcrip- 
tion,^ with goat's legs and feet. A fmall bell is fufpended to the 
fmaller phallus in front ; and the larger organ which forms the 
body is furnifhed with wings. The picture is completed by the 
introdudlion of three birds, two of which are pecking the unveiled 
head of the principal phallus, while the third is holding down the 
tail with its foot. 

Several examples of thefe triple phalli occur in the Mufee Secret 
of the antiquities of Herculaneum and Pompeii. In the examples 
figured in that work,the hind part of the main phallus aflumes clearly 
the form of a dog ;^ and to mod of them are attached fmall bells, 
the explanation of which appears as yet to be very unfatisfad:ory. The 
wings alfo are common attributes of the phallus in thefe monuments. 
Plutarch is quoted as an authority for the explanation of the triple 
phallus as intended to fignify multiplication of its productive 

On the top of another pilafter of the amphitheatre at Nimes, to 

the right of the principal weftern entrance, was a bas-relief, alfo 


1 Plate XXV, Fig. i. 2 See our Plate xxv. Fig. 2. 

3 The writer of the text to the Mufce Secret fuppofes that this circumflance has 
fome reference to the double meaning given to the Greek word kvwv, which was 
used for the generative organ. 

4 See Augufte Pelet, Catalogue du Mufee de Nimes. 



reprefenting a triple phallus, with legs of dog, and winged, hut 
with a further accompaniment.^ A female, drefied in the Roman 
ftola, ftands upon the phallus forming the tail, and holds both it 
and the one forming the body with a bridle." This bas-relief was 
taken down in 1829, and is now preferved in the mufeum of Nimes. 
A ftill more remarkable monument of this clafs was found in 
the courfe of excavations made at Nimes in 1825. It is en- 
graved in our plate xxvi, and reprefents a bird, apparently in- 
tended for a vulture, with fpread wings and phallic tail, fitting on 
four eggs, each of which is defigned, no doubt, to reprefent the 
female organ. The local antiquaries give to this, as to the other 
fimilar objeds, an emblematical fignification ; but it may perhaps 
be more rightly regarded as a playful conception of the imagina- 
tion. A fimilar defign, with fome modifications, occurs not unfre- 
quently among Gallo-Roman antiquities. We have engraved a 
figure of the triple phallus governed, or guided, by the female,^ 
from a fmall bronze plate, on which it appears in bas-relief; 
it is now preferved in a private colledlion in London, with 
a duplicate, which appears to have been caft: from the fame 
mould, though the plate is cut through, and they were evidently 
intended for fufpenfion from the neck. Both came from the col- 
ledion of M. Baudot of Dijon. The lady here bridles only the 
principal phallus ; the legs are, as in the monument lafl: deicribed, 
thofe of a bird, and it is fl:anding upon three egiTs, apple-formed, 
and reprefenting the organ of the other fex, 

^ Plate XXV, Fig. 3. 

2 A French antiquary has given an emblematical interpretation of this figure. 
'* Perhaps," he fays, "it fignifies the empire of woman extending over the three 
ages of man ; on youth, charafterized by the bell ; on the age of vigour, the ardour 
of which (lie reilrains ; and on old age, which (he fuftains." This is perhaps more 
ingenious than convincing. 

3 See our Plate xxxvi. Fig. 3. 



. In regard to this laft-mentioned objeft, another very remarkable 
monument of what appears at Nimes to have been by no means 
a fecret worfhip, was found there during fome excavations on the 
fite of the Roman baths. It is a fquared mafs of ftone, the four 
fides of which, like the one reprefented in our engraving, are 
covered with fimilar figures of the fexual charaderiftics of the 
female, arranged in rows/ It has evidently ferved as a bafe, pro- 
bably to a ftatue, or poffibly to an altar. This curious monument 
is now preferved in the mufeum at Nimes. 

As Nimes was evidently a centre of this Priapic worfhip in the 
fouth of Gauljfo there appear to have been, perhaps leffer, centres in 
other parts, and we may trace it to the northern extremities of the 
Roman province, even to the other fide of the Rhine. On the fite 
of Roman fettlements near Xanten, in lower Hefre,a large quantity 
of pottery and other objeds have been found, of a character to 
leave no doubt as to the prevalence of this worfiiip in that quarter." 
But the Roman fettlement which occupied the fite of the modern 
city of Antwerp appears to have been one of the mofl: remarkable 
feats of the worfliip of Priapus in the north of Gaul, and it con- 
tinued to exifl: there till a comparatively modern period. 

When we crofs over to Britain we find this worfiiip efl:ablifiied 
no lefs firmly and extenfively in that ifland. Statuettes of Priapus, 
phallic bronzes, pottery covered with obfcene piftures, are found 
wherever there are any extenfive remains of Roman occupation, as 
our antiquaries know well. The numerous phallicfigures in bronze, 
found in England, are perfeftly identical in charader with thofe 

1 See Plate xxv. Fig. 4. 

2 Two Roman towns, Caftra Vetera and Colonia Trajana, ftood within no great 
diilance of Xanten, and Ph. Houben, a " notarius " of this town, formed a private 
mufeum of antiquities found there, and in 1839 publifhed engravings of them, with 
a text by Dr. Franz Fiedler. The erotic objefts form a feparate work under the 
title, Antike erotifche Bildwerke in Hoube?is Antiquarium zu Xa?ite?i. 


which occur in I^Vance and in Italy. In illuftration of this fad, we 
give two examples of the triple phallus, which appears to have 
been, perhaps in accordance with the explanation given by Plu- 
tarch, an amulet in great favour. The firfl: was found in London 
in 1842.^ As in the examples found on the continent, a principal 
phallus forms the body, having the hinder parts of apparently a 
dog, with wings of a peculiar form, perhaps intended for thofe of 
a dragon. Several fmall rings are attached, no doubt for the pur- 
pofe of fufpending bells. Our fecond example'" was found at York in 
1844. It difplays a peculiarity of aftion which, in this cafe at leaft, 
leaves no doubt that the hinder parts were intended to be thofe of 
a dog. All antiquaries of any experience know the great number 
of obfcene fubjefts which are met with among the fine red pottery 
which is termed Samian ware, found fo abundantly in all Roman 
fites in our ifland. They reprefent erotic fcenes in every fenfe of 
the word, promifcuous intercourfe between the fexes, even vices 
contrary to nature, with figures of Priapus, and phallic emblems. 
We give as an example one of the lejs exceptionable fcenes of this 
defcription, copied from a Samian bowl found in Cannon Street, 
London, in 1838.'* The lamps, chiefly of earthenware, form ano- 
ther clafs of objeds on which fuch fcenes are frequently pourtrayed, 
and to which broadly phallic forms are fometimes given. One of 
thefe phallic lamps is here reprefented, on the fame plate with the 
bowl of Samian ware juft defcribed.* It is hardly neceffary to explain 
the fubjed reprefented by this lamp, which was found in London a 
few years ago. 

All this obfcene pottery mufl: be regarded, no doubt, as a proof 
of a great amount of diflolutenefs in the morals of Roman focicty 
in Britain, but it is evidence of fomethingmore. It is hardly likely 

1 See Plate xxvii, Fig. 3. 2 pjate xxvii. Fig. 4. 

3 Plate XXVII, Fig. i. < Plate xxvii. Fig. 2. 


that fuch objefts could be in common ufe at the family table ; and 
we are led to fuppofe that they were employed on fpecial occafions, 
feftivals, perhaps, connected with the licentious worfhip of which 
we are fpeaking, and fuch as thofe defcribed in fuch ftrong terms in 
the fatires of Juvenal. But monuments are found in this ifland 
which bear ftill more diredt evidence to the existence of the worfhip 
of Priapus during the Roman period. 

In the parifh of Adel, in Yorkfhire, are confiderable traces of a 
Roman ftation, which appears to have been a place of fome import- 
ance, and which certainly poffefled temples. On the fite of thefe 
were found altars, and other ftones with infcriptions, which, after 
being long preferved in an outhoufe of the redlory at Adel, are now 
depofited in the mufeum of the Philofophical Society at Leeds. One 
of the moft curious of thefe, which we have here engraved for the 
firft time,^ appears to be a votive offering to Priapus, who feems to 
be addreffed under the name of Mentula. It is a rough, unfquared 
ftone, which has been feleded for pofTeffing a tolerably flat and 
fmooth furface ; and the figure and letters were made with a 
rude implement, and by an unfkilled workman, who was evidently 
unable to cut a continuous fmooth line. The middle of the flone 
is occupied by the figure of a phallus, and round it we read very 
diftindly the words: — 


The author of the infcription may have been an ignorant Latinifl: 
as well as an unfkilful fculptor, and perhaps miftook the ligulated 
letters, overlooking the limb which would make the L fland for 
VL, and giving A for AE. It would then read Priminus Men- 
tula^ Priminus to Mentula (the obje6l perfonified), and it may have 

1 Plate XXVIII, Fig. i, 



been a votive offering from fome individual named Priminus, who 
was in want of a heir, or laboured under fome fexual infirmity, to 
Priapus, whofe afliftance he fought. Another interpretation has 
been fuggefted, on the fuppoiition that Mentla, or perhaps (the L 
being defigned for ILligulated) Mentilaor Mentilla, might be the 
name of a female joined with her hufband in this offering for their 
common good. The former of thefe interpretations feems, how- 
ever, to be the mofl probable. This monument belongs probably 
to rather a late date in the Roman period. Another exvoto of the 
fame clafs was found at Weflerwood Fort in Scotland, one of the 
Roman fortreffes on the wall of Antoninus. This monument^ 
confifted of a fquare flab of flone, in the middle of which was a 
phallus, and under it the words EX • VOTO. Above were the 
letters XAN, meaning, perhaps, that the offerer had laboured 
ten years MwdtY the grievance of which he fought redrefs from Pri- 
apus. We may point alfo to a phallic monument of another kind, 
which reminds us in fome degree of the finer feu Iptu res at Nimes. 
At Houfefteads, in Northumberland, are feen the extenfive and 
impofing remains of one of the Roman flations on the Wall of 
Hadrian named Borcovicus. The walls of the entrance gateways 
are efpecially well preferved, and on that of the guard-houfe 
attached to one of them, is a flab of ftone prefenting the figure 
given in our plate xxviii, fig. 3. It is a rude delineation of a 
phallus with the legs of a fowl, and reminds us of fome of the 
monuments in France and Italy previoufly defcribed. Thefe phal- 
lic images were no doubt expofed in fuch' fituations becaufe they 
were fuppofed to exercife a protedive influence over the locality, or 

' See Plate xxviii, Fig. 2. Horfeley, who engraved this monument in his 
Britannia Romana, Scotland, fig. xix. has inferted a fig-leaf in place of the phallus, 
but with flight indications of the form of the objcft it was intended to conceal. 
We are not aware if this monument is lliil in exiltence. 


over the building, and the individual who looked upon the figure 
believed himfelf fafe, during that day at leaft, from evil influences 
of various defcriptions. They are found, we believe, in fome other 
Roman ftations, in a fimilar pofition to that of the phallus at 

Although the worfhip of which we are treating prevailed fo exten- 
fively among the Romans and throughout the Roman provinces, it 
was far from being peculiar to them, for the fame fuperftition formed 
part of the religion of the Teutonic race, and was carried with that 
race wherever it fettled. The Teutonic god, who anfwered to the 
Roman Priapus, was called, in Anglo-Saxon, Frea, in Old Norfe, 
Freyr, and, in Old German, Fro. Among the Swedes, the princi- 
pal feat of his worfliip was at Upfala, and Adam of Bremen, who 
lived in the eleventh century, when paganifm ftill retained its hold 
on the north, in defcribing the forms under which the gods were 
there reprefented, tells us that " the third of the gods at Upfala 
was Fricco [another form of the name], who beftowed on mortals 
peace and pleafure, and who was reprefented with an immen/e pri- 
apus ; " and he adds that, at the celebration of marriages, they offered 
facrifice to Fricco.^ This god, indeed, like the Priapus of the 
Romans, prefided over generation and fertility, either of animal 
life or of the produce of the earth, and was invoked accordingly. 
Ihre, in his Glojfarium Sueco-Gothicum, mentions objeds of antiquity 
dug up in the north of Europe, which clearly prove the prevalence 
of phallic rites. To this deity, or to his female reprefentative of 
the fame name, the Teutonic Venus, Friga, the fifth day of the 
week was dedicated, and on that account received its name, in Anglo- 
Saxon, Frige-daeg, and in modern Englifh Friday. Frigedaeg appears 

1 " Tertius eft Fricco, pacem voluptatemque largiens mortalibus, cujus etiam fimu- 
lachrum fingunt ingenti priapo ; fi nuptias celebrandas funt, Fricconi [facrificia offe- 
runt.] " — Adam Bremens, De Situ Daniee, p. 23, ed. 1629. 


to have been a name fometimes given in Anglo-Saxon to Frea him- 
felf; in a charter of the date of 959, printed in Kemble's Co<^^x Z)//)/o- 
maticus^ one of the marks on a boundary-line of land is Frigeda^ges- 
Trc'^ow, meaning apparently Frea's tree, which was probably a tree 
dedicated to that god, and the fcene of Priapic rites. There is a 
place called Fridaythorpe in Yorkfhire, and Frifton, a name which 
occurs in feveral parts of England, means, probably, the ftone of 
Frea or of Friga ; and we feem juftified in fuppofing that this and 
other names commencing with the fyllable Fri or Fry, are fo many 
monuments of the exiftence of the phallic worfhip among our 
Anglo-Saxon forefathers. Two cuftoms cherifhed among our old 
Englifh popular fuperftitions are believed to have been derived 
from this worfhip, the need-fires, and the proceffion of the boar's 
head at the Chriftmas feftivities. The former were fires kindled at 
the period of the fummer folftice, and were certainly in their origin 
religious obfervances. The boar was intimately connected with 
the worfhip of Frea.^ 

From our want of a more intimate knowledge of this partof Teu- 
tonic paganifm, we are unable to decide whether fome of the fuperfti- 
tious pradlices of the middle ages were derived from the Romans or 
from the peoples who eftablifhed themfelves in the provinces after the 
overthrow of the weftern empire; but in Italy and in Gaul (the 
fouthern parts efpecially), where the Roman inflitutions and fenti- 
ments continued with more perfiftence to hold their influence, it 
was the phallic worfl-iip of the Romans which, gradually modified 
in its forms, was thus preferved, and, though the records of fuch a 
worfhip are naturally accidental and imperfed, yet we can diflindly 
trace its exiftence to a very late period. Thus, we have clear evi- 
dence that the phallus, in its fimple form, was worfhipped by 
the mediaeval Chriflians, and that the forms of Chriflian prayer 

1 See Grimm's Deutfche Mythologie, p. 139, firft edition. 


and invocation were aftually addrefled to it. One name of the 
male organ among the Romans was fafcinum; it was under this 
name that it was fufpended round the necks of women and 
children, and under this name efpecially it was fuppofed to poffefs 
magical influences which not only a6ted upon others, but de- 
fended thofe who were under its protection from magical or other 
evil influences from without. Hence are derived the words tofaf- 
cinate 2i\\di fafcination. The word is ufed by Horace, and efpecially 
in the epigrams of the Priapeia^ which may be confidered in fome 
degree as the exponents of the popular creed in thefe matters. 
Thus we have in one of thefe epigrams the lines, — 

" Placet, Priape ? qui fub arboris coma 
Soles, facrum revinfte pampino caput. 
Ruber federe cum rubente fafcino. ' ' 

Priap. Carm. Ixxxiv. 

It feems probable that this had become the popular, or vulgar, word 
for the phallus, at leaft taken in this point of view, at the clofe of 
the Roman power, for the firfl: very difliind traces of its worfliip 
which we find afterwards introduce it under this name, which fub- 
fequently took in French the ioxm. fefne. The mediaeval worfliip of 
t\vQ fafcinum is firfl fpoken of in the eighth century. An ecclefiaf- 
tical trad entitled fudicia Sacerdotalia de Criminibus^ which is 
afcribed to the end of that century, direds that "if any one has per- 
formed incantation to the fafcinum, or any incantation whatever, 
except any one who chaunts the Creed or the Lord's Prayer, let him 
do penance on bread and water during three lents." An ad of the 

^ Martene and Darand, Veterum Scriptorum AmpUJJima ColleSiio, torn, vii, p. 35. 
Si quis prsecantaverit ad fafcinum, velqualefcumque praecantationes excepto fymbolum 
fanftum aut orationem dominicam qui cantat et cui cantatur, tres quadrigefimas in 
pane et aqua poeniteat. 


council of Chalons, held in the ninth century, prohibits the fame 
practice almoft in the fame words; and Burchardus repeats it again 
in the twelfth century,^ a proof of the continued exiftence of this 
worfhip. That it was in full force long after this is proved by 
the ftatutes of the fynod of Mans, held in 1247, which enjoin 
fimihirly the punifhment for him "who has finned to th.^ fafcinum^ 
or has performed any incantations, except the creed, the pater nofter, 
or other canonical prayer."'^ This fame provifion was adopted and 
renewed in the ftatutes of the fynod of Tours, held in 1396, in 
which, as they were publifhed in French, the h.cit'in fafcinum is 
reprefented by the French fefne. The fajcinum to which fuch 
worfhip was direfted muft have been fomething more than a fmall 

This brings us to the clofe of the fourteenth century, and fhows 
us how long the outward worfhip of the generative powers, repre- 
fented by their organs, continued to exift in Weftern Europe to 
fuch a point as to engage the attention of ecclefiaftical fynods. 
During the previous century fads occurred in our own ifland illuf- 
trating ftill more curioufly the continuous exiflence of the worfhip 
of Priapus, and that under circumftances which remind us altoge- 
ther of the details of the phallic worfhip under the Romans. It 
will be remembered that one great objedl of this worfhip was to 
obtain fertility either in animals or in the ground, for Priapus was 
the god of the horticulturift and the agriculturifl:. St. Auguftine, 
declaiming againft the open obfcenities of the Roman feftival of the 
Liberalia, informs us that an enormous phallus was curried in a 

' D. Burchardi Dccrctorum libri, lib. x, c. 49. 

^ Martcne et Durand, AmpliJJima Colledio Veterum Scriptorum, torn, vii, col. i 377. 
Si peccavcrit ad fafcinum, vcl qualcrciimquc prajcantationcs feccrit, excepto iymbolo 
et oratione dominica, vcl alia oratione canonica, et qui cantat, et cui cantatur, trcs 
quadragefimas pceniteat. 



magnificent chariot into the middle of the public place of the 
town with great ceremony, where the moft refpeftable matron 
advanced and placed a garland of flowers "on this obfcene figure;" 
and this, he fays, was done to appeafe the god, and "to ob- 
tain an abundant harveft, and remove enchantments from the 
land."^ We learn from the Chronicle of Lanercoil that, in the year 
1268, a peftilence prevailed in the Scottifh diftrid of Lothian, 
which was very fatal to the cattle, to counteract which fome of the 
clergy — bejiiales, habitu claujtrales, non animo — taught the peafantry 
to make a fire by the rubbing together of wood (this was the need- 
fire), and to raife up the image of Priapus, as a means of faving 
their cattle, " When a lay member of the Cifliercian order at 
Fenton had done this before the door of the hall, and had fprinkled 
the cattle with a dog's tefl:icles dipped in holy water, and complaint 
had been made of this crime of idolatry againfl: the lord of the 
manor, the latter pleaded in his defence that all this was done with- 
out his knowledge and in his abfence, but added, 'while until the 
prefent month of June other people's cattle fell ill and died, mine 
were always found, but now every day two or three of mine die, fo 
that 1 have few left for the labours of the field.' "^ Fourteen years 
after this, in 1282, an event of the fame kind occurred at Inver- 

1 S. Augullini De Civit. Dei, lib. vii, c. 21. 

2 Pro fidei divinse integritate fervanda recolat leftor quod, cum hoc anno in 
Laodonia peilis graflaretur in pecudes armenti, quam vocant ufitate lungeffbuth, qui- 
dam bertiales, habitu claullrales non animo, docebant idiotas patris ignem confric- 
tione de lignis educere, et fimulacrum Priapi ilatuere, et per haec belliis fuccurrere. 
Quod cum unus laicus Ciilercienfis apud Fentone feciflet ante atrium aulse, ac in- 
tinftis tefticulis canis in aquam benedidtam fuper animalia fparfifiet ; ac pro invento 
tacinore idolatrise dominus vills a quodam fideli argueretur, ille pro fua innocentia 
obtendebat, quod ipfo nefciente et ablente fuerant ha;c omnia perpetrata, et adjecit, 
** et cum ad ufque hunc menfem Junium aliorum animalia languerent et deficerent, 
mea Temper i'ana erant, nunc vero quotidie mihi moriuntur duo vel tria, ita quod 
agricuitui pauca luperlunt." — Chron. de La7jercoft. ed. Stevenfon, p. 85. 


keithing, in the prefent county of Fife in Scotland. The caiife of 
the following proceedings is not ftated, but it was probably the 
fame as that for which the ciftercian of Lothian had recourfe to the 
worfhip of Priapus. In the Eafter week of the year juft ftated 
(March 29 — April 5), a parifh prieft of Inverkeithing, named 
John, performed the rites of Priapus, by colleding the young girls 
of the town, and making thern dance round the figure of this god ; 
without any regard for the fex of thefe worfhippers, he carried a 
wooden image of the male members of generation before them in 
the dance, and himfelf dancing with them, he accompanied their fongs 
with movements in accordance, and urged them to licentious adions 
by his no lefs licentious language. The more modeft part of thofe 
who were prefent felt fcandalized by thefe proceedings, and expof- 
tulated with the prieft, but he treated their words with contempt, 
and only gave utterance to coarfer obfcenities. He was cited before 
his biftiop, defended himfelf upon the common ufage of the coun- 
try, and was allov/ed to retain his benefice; but he muft have been 
rather a worldly prieft, after the ftyle of the middle ages, for a 
year afterwards he was killed in a vulgar brawl. ^ 

The practice of placing the figure of a phallus on the walls of 
buildings, derived, as we have feen, from the Romans, prevailed 
alfo in the middle ages, and the buildings efpecially placed under 
the influence of this fymbol were churches. It was believed to be 

1 Infuper hoc tempore apud Invcrcliethin, in hehdomeda pafchaj (March 29 — 
April 5), facerdos parochialis, nomine Johannes, Priapi prophana parans, congre- 
gatis ex villa puellulis, cogebat eas, choreis faftis, Libero patri circuire ; ut ille 
feminas in exercitu habuit, fie ifte, procacitatis caufa, membra humana virtuti iemi- 
narije iervientia lupcr allerem artificiata ante talem chorcam pr.Tferebat, et ipfe 
tripudians cum cantantibus motu mimico omnes inipeftantes et vcrbo impudico ad 
luxuriam incitabat. Hi qui honefto matrimonio honorem deferebant, tam iniolenti 
officio, licet reverentur perfonam, fcandalizabantur propter gradus emincntiam. Si 
quis ei feorlum ex amore correptionis lermonem int'erret, fiebat dcterior, et conviciis 
eos impctcbat. — Chron. dc LancercoJ}. ed. Stcvenfon, p. 109. 


a protedion againft enchantments of all kinds, of which the people 
of thofe times lived in conftant terror, and this protedion extended 
over the place and over thofe who frequented it, provided they caft 
a confiding look upon the image. Such images were feen, ufually 
upon the portals, on the cathedral church of Touloufe, on more 
than one church in Bourdeaux, and on various other churches in 
France, but, at the time of the revolution, they were often deftroyed 
as marks only of the depravity of the clergy. Dulaure tells us that 
an artift, whom he knew, but whofe name he has not given, had 
made drawings of a number of thefe^ figures which he had met with 
in fuch fituations.^ A Chriftian faint exercifed fome of the qualities 
thus deputed to Priapus ; the image of St. Nicholas was ufually 
painted in a confpicuous pofition in the church, for it was believed 
that whoever had looked upon it was protected againft enchant- 
ments, and efpecially againft that great objed: of popular terror the 
evil eye, during the reft of the day. 

It is a lingular fad: that in Ireland it was the female organ which 
was ftiown in this pofition of protedor upon the churches, and the 
elaborate though rude manner in which thefe figures were fculp- 
tured, fhow that they were confidered as objeds of great im- 
portance. They reprefented a female expofing herfelf to view in 
the moft unequivocal manner, and are carved on a block which appears 
to have ferved as the key-ftone to the arch of the door-way of the 
church, where they were prefented to the gaze of all who entered. 
They appear to have been found principally in the very old 
churches, and have been moftly taken down, fo that they are only 
found among the ruins. People have given them the name of 

1 He adds in a note : — '< Les deffins de cet artifte, dellines a I'Academie des 
Belles Lettres, font pafles, on ne fait comment, entre les mains d'un particulier qui en 
prive le public," — ^J. A. Dulaure, Hijloire de differe?is Cultes, tom. ii. p. 251, 
8vo. 1825. 


Shelah-na-Gig^^\\\(i\\^ we are told, means in Irifh Julian the Giddy, 
and is (imply a term for an immodeft woman; but it is well under- 
ftood that they were intended as protecting charms againft the faf- 
cination of the evil eye. We have given copies of all the examples 
yet known in our plates xxix and xxx. The firft of thefe^ was 
found in an old church at Rocheftown, in the county of Tipperary, 
where it had long been known among the people of the neighbour- 
hood by the name given above. It was placed in the arch over the 
doorway, but has fince been taken away. Our fecond example of 
the Shelah-na-Gig'"^ was taken from an old church lately pulled 
down in the county Cavan,and is now preferved in the mufeum of 
the Society of Antiquaries of Dublin. The third^ was found 
at Ballinahend Caftle, alfo in the county of Tipperary; and the 
fourth** is preferved in the mufeum at Dublin, but we are not in- 
formed from whence it was obtained. The next;^ which is alfo now 
preferved in the Dublin Mufeum, was taken from the old church on 
the White I{land,in Lough Erne, county Fermanagh. This church 
is fuppofed by the Irifh antiquaries to be a ftrucflure of very great 
antiquity, for fome of them would carry its date as far back as the 
feventh century, but this is probably an exaggeration. The one 
which follows" was furnifhed by an old church pulled down by order 
of the ecclefiaftical commifTioners, and it was prefented to the mufeum 
at Dublin, by the late dean Davvfon. Our laft example'' was for- 
merly in the pofTelfion of Sir Benjamin Chapman, Bart., of Killoa 
Caftle, Weftmeath, and is now in a private colledlion in London. 
It was found in 1859 "^^ Chloran, in afield on Sir Benjamin's eftate 
known by the name of the "Old Town," from whence ftones had 

1 Plate XXIX, Fig. i. - Plate xxix. Fig. 2. 

3 Plate XXIX, Fig. 3. ■* Plate xxix. Fig. 4. 

^ Plate xxx, Fig. i. '' Plate xxx, Fig. 2. 

'' Plate xxx, Fig. 3. 


been removed at previous periods, though there are now very fmall 
remains of building. This ftone was found at a depth of about 
five feet from the furface, which fhows that the building, a church 
no doubt, muft have fallen into ruin a long time ago. Contiguous 
to this field, and at a diftance of about two hundred yards from the 
fpot where the Shelah-na-Gig was found, there is an abandoned 
churchyard, feparated from the Old Town field only by a loofe 
ftone wall. 

The belief in the falutary power of this image appears to be a 
fuperftition of great antiquity, and to exift ftill among all peoples 
who have not reached a certain degree of civilization. The univer- 
fality of this fuperftition leads us to think that Herodotus may 
have erred in the explanation he has given of certain rather re- 
markable monuments of a remote antiquity. He tells us that 
Sefoftris, king of Egypt, raifed columns in fome of the countries 
he conquered, on which he caufed to be figured the female organ of 
generation as a mark of contempt for thofe who had fubmitted 
eafily.^ May not thefe columns have been intended, if we knew 
the truth, as protedions for the people of the diftrid; in which 
they ftood, and placed in the pofition where they could moft con- 
veniently be feen ? This fuperftitious fentiment may alfo offer the 
true explanation of an incident which is faid to have been repre- 
fented in the myfteries of Eleufis. Ceres, wandering over 
the earth in fearch of her daughter Proferpine, and overcone 
with grief for her lofs, arrived at the hut of an Athenian peafant 
woman named Baubo, who received her hofpitably, and offered her 
to drink the refrefliing mixture which the Greeks call Cyceon 
{jcvKewv). The goddefs rejedled the offered kindnefs, and refufed 

1 Herodotus, Euterpe, cap. 102. Diodorus Siculus adds to the account given by 
Herodotus, that Sefoftris also erefled columns bearing the male generative organ as 
a compliment to the peoples who had defended themfelves bravely. 



all confolation. Baubo, in her diftrefs, bethought her of another 
expedient to allay the grief of her gueft. She relieved her fexual 
organs of that outward fign which is the evidence of puberty, and 
then prefented them to the view of Ceres, who, at the fight, 
laughed, forgot her forrows, and drank the cyceon.' The prevail- 
ing belief in the beneficial influence of this fight, rather than a 
mere pleafantry, feems to aflxjrd the beft explanation of this fliory ; 
and the fame fuperftition is no doubt embodied in an old mediaeval 
fi:ory which we give in a note as it is told in that celebrated book 
of the fixteenth century Le Moyen de Parvenir? 

This fuperfl:ition which, as fihown by the Shelah-na-Gigs of the 
Irifii churches, prevailed largely in the middle ages, explains ano- 
ther clafs of antiquities which are not uncommon. Thefe are fmall 
figures of nude females expofing themfelves in exa(!l:ly the fame 
manner as in the fculptures on the churches in Ireland juft alluded 
to. Such figures are found not only among Roman, Greek, and 
Egyptian antiquities, but among every people who had any know- 
ledge of art, from the aborigines of America to the far more civi- 

1 This llory is told by the two Chriilian Fathers, Arnobius, Adverfus Gentes, lib. 
V. c. 5, and Clemens Alexandrinus, Protrepticus, p. 17, ed. Oxon. 171 5. The 
latter writer merely Hates that Baubo expofed her parts to the view of the goddefs, 
without the incident of preparation mentioned by Arnobius. 

2 <' Hermes. On nomme ainfi ceux qui n'ont point vu le con de leur femme ou 
de leur garce. Le pauvre valet de chez nous n'etoit done pas coquebin ; il eut beau 
le voir. — Varro. Quand? — Hermes. Attendez, etant en fian^ailles, il vouloit prendre 
le cas dc fa fiancee ; elle ne le vouloit pas ; il faifoit le malade, et elle lui demandoit ; 
' Qu'y a-t-il, mon ami ? ' ' Helas, ma mie, je fuis fi malade, que je n'en puis plus ; 
jc mourrai fi je ne vois ton cas.' * Vraiment voire ? ' dit-elle. * Helas! oui, fi je 
I'avois vu, je guerirois.' Elle ne lui voulut point montrer ; a la fin, ils furent 
maries. Iladvint, trois ou quatre mois apres, qu'il fut fort malade ; et il envoya fa 
femme au medecin pour porter de fon eau. En allant, elle s'avifa de ce qu'il lui 
avoit dit en fiangailles. Elle retourna vitement, et fe vint mettrc fur le lit ; puis, 
levant cottc et chcmife, lui prefenta fon cela en belle vue, et lui difoit : ' Jean, 
regarde le con, et te gueris.' " — Le Moyen de Parvenir, c. xxviii. 


lized natives of Japan ; and it would be eafy to give examples from 
almoft every country we know, but we confine ourfelves to our 
more fpecial part of the fubjed:. In the laft century, a number of 
fmall ftatuettes in metal, in a rude but very peculiar ftyle of art, 
were found in the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, in a part of 
Germany formerly occupied by the Vandals, and by the tribe of 
the Obotrites, confidered as a diviiion of the Vendes. They 
appeared to be intended to reprefent fome of the deities worfhipped 
by the people who had made them ; and fome of them bore in- 
fcriptions, one of which was in Runic charaders. From this cir- 
cumftance we lliould prefume that they belonged to a period not 
much, if any, older than the fall of the Weftern Empire. Some time 
afterwards, a fevv' ftatuettes in metal were found in the ifland of Sar- 
dinia, fo exactly fimilar to thofe juft mentioned, that D'Hancarville, 
who publifhed an account of them with engravings, considered himfelf 
juftified in afcribing them to the Vandals, who occupied that ifland, 
as well as the trad: of Germany alluded to.^ One of thefe images, 
which D'Hancarville coniiders to be the Venus of the Vandal my- 
thology, reprefents a female in a reclining pofition, with the wings 
and claws of a bird, holding to view a pomegranate, open, which, 
as D'Hancarville remarks, was confidered as a fign reprefenting the 
female fexual organ. In fad, it was a form and idea more un- 
equivocally reprefented in the Roman figures which we have 
already defcribed,^ but which continued through the middle ages, 
and was preferved in a popular name for that organ, abricot^ or 
expreffed more energetically, abricot fendu^ ufed by Rabelais, and 
we believe ftill preferved in France. This curious image is repre- 
fented, after D'Hancarville, in three different points of view in our 

' D'Hancarville, Antiquites Etrufques, Grecques, et Romaincs, Paris, 1785, torn. 
V. p. 61. 

2 See our Plates xxv. Fig. 4, xxvi, and Plate xxxvi. Fig. 3. 


plate.^ Several figures of a fimllar defcription, but reprefenting 
the fubjeft in a more matter-of-fa6t fhape, were brought from 
Egypt by a Frenchman who held an official fituation in that 
country, and three of them are now in a private colledion in 
London. We have engraved one of thefe fmall bronzes,^ which, 
as will be feen, prefents an exad: counterpart of the Shelah-na-Gig. 
Thefe Egyptain images belonged no doubt to the Roman period. 
Another fimilar figure,^ made of lead, and apparently mediaeval, 
was found at Avignon, and is preferved in the fame private col- 
ledion juft alluded to; and a third,* was dug up, about ten years 
ago, at Kingfton-on-Thames. The form of thefe ftatuettes feems 
to fhow that they were intended as portable images, for the fame 
purpofe as the Shelahs, which people might have ready at hand to 
look upon for protection whenever they were under fear of the in- 
fluence of the evil eye, or of any other fort of enchantment. 

We have not as yet any clear evidence of the exiflience of the 
Shelah-na-Gig in churches out of Ireland. We have been informed 
that an example has been found in one of the little churches on 
the coaft of Devon ; and there are curious fculptures, which ap- 
pear to be of the fame charader, among the architectural orna- 
mentation of the very early church of San Fedele at Como in 
Italy. Three of thefe are engraved in our plate xxxii. On the 
top of the right hand jamb of the door^ is a naked male figure, 
and in the fame pofition on the other fide a female,''' which are 
defcribed to us as reprefenting Adam and Eve, and our informant, 
to whom we owe the drawings, defcribes that at the apex'' merely 
as "the figure of a woman holding her legs apart." We under- 
ftand that the furface of the fl:one in thefe fculptures is fo much 

1 Plate XXXI, Figs, i, 2, 3. ^ piate xxxi. Fig. 4. 

3 Plate XXXI, Fig. 5. '' Plate xxxvi. Fig. 4. 

5 Plate xxxii. Fig. i. ^ Plate xxxii. Fig. 2. 

"^ Plate XXXII, Fig. 3. 


worn that it is quite uncertain whether the fexual parts were ever 
diftindly marked, butfrom the pofturesand pofitions of thehands, 
and the fituation in which thefe figures are placed, they feem to 
refemble clofely, except in their fuperior ftyle of art, the Shelah- 
na-Gigs of Ireland. There can be little doubt that the fuperftition 
to which thefe objecfts belonged gave rife to much of the indecent 
fculpture which is fo often found upon mediaeval ecclefiaftical build- 
ings. The late Baron von Hammer-Piirgftall publifhed a very 
learned paperupon monuments of various kinds which he confidered 
as illuftrating the fecret hiftory of the order of the Templars, from 
which we learn that there was in his time a feries of moft extraordi- 
nary obfcene fculptures in the church of Schoengraber in Auftria, of 
which he intended to give engravings, but the drawings had not 
arrived in time for his book;^ but he has engraved the capital of a 
column in the church of Egra, a town of Bohemia, of which we 
give a copy,^ in which the two fexes are difplaying to view the 
members, which were believed to be fo efficatious againft the power 
of fafcination. 

The figure of the female organ, as well as the male, appears to have 
been employed during the middle agesof Weftern Europe far more 
generally than we might fuppofe, placed upon buildings as a talifman 
againft evil influences, and efpecially againft witchcraft and the evil 
eye, and it was ufed for this purpofe in many other parts of the 
world. It was the univerfal pradlice among the Arabs of Northern 
Africa to ftick up over the door of the houfe or tent, or put up 
nailed on a board in fome other way, the generative organ of a 
cow, mare, or female camel, as a talifman to avert the influence of 
the evil eye. It is evident that the figure of this member was far 

1 See Von Hammer-Purgftall, Fundgruben des Orients, vol. vi, p. 26. 

2 Von Hammer-Purgftall, Fundgruben des Orients, vol. vi, p. 35, and Plate iv. 
Fig. 31. — See our Plate xxxi. Fig. 6. 


more liable to degradation in form than that of the male, becaufe 
it was much lefs eafy, in the hands of rude draughtfmen, to delineate 
in an intelligible form, and hence it foon afTumed fhapes which, 
though intended to rcprcfent it, we might rather call fymbolical of 
it, though no fymbolifm was intended. Thus the figure of the 
female organ eafily aflumed the rude form of a horfefhoe, and as 
the original meaning was forgotten, would be readily taken for that 
objed:, and a real horfefhoe nailed up for the fame purpofe. In 
this way originated, apparently, from the popular worfhip of the 
generative powers, the vulgar pracftice of nailing a horfefhoe upon 
buildings to proted: them and all they contain againft the power of 
witchcraft, a pracftice which continues to exifl among the peafantry 
in fome parts of England at the prefent day. Other marks are found, 
fometimes among the architedural ornaments, fuch as certain tri- 
angles and triple loops, which are perhaps typical forms of the fame 
objeft. Wehave been informed that there is an old church in Ireland 
where the male organ is drawn on one fide of the door, and the 
Shelah-na-Gig on the other, and that, though perhaps comparatively 
modern, their import as protecftive charms are well underftood. We 
can eafily imagine men, uncier the influence of thefe fuperftitions, 
when they were obliged to halt for a moment by the fide of a 
building, drawing upon it fuch a figure, with the defign that it fhould 
be a protedion to themfelves, and thus probably we derive from 
fuperftitious feelings the common propenfity to draw phallic figures 
on the fides of vacant walls and in other places. 

Antiquity had made Priapus a god, the middle ages raifed him 
into a faint, and that under feveral names. In the fouth of France, 
Provence, Languedoc, and the Lyonnais, he was worfhipped under 
the title of St. Foutin.' This name is faid to be a mere corruption 

1 Our material for the account of thefe phallic faints is taken moflly from the work 
of M. Dulaure. 


of Fotinus or Photinus,the firft bifhop of Lyons, to whom, perhaps 
through giving a vulgar Interpretation to the name, people had 
transferred the diftinguifhing attribute of Priapus. This was a 
large phallus of wood, which was an objedl of reverence to the 
women, efpecially to thofe who were barren, who fcraped the 
wooden member, and, having fteeped the fcrapings in water, they 
drank the latter as a remedy againft their barrennefs, or adminiftered 
it to their hufbands in the belief that it would make them vigorous. 
The worfhip of this faint, as it was pradiced in various places in 
France at the commencement of the feventeenth century, is de- 
fcribed in that fingular book, the Confejfion de Sancy} We there 
learn that at Varailles in Provence, waxen images of the members of 
both fexes were offered to St. Foutin, and fufpended to the ceiling 
of his chapel, and the writer remarks that, as the ceiling was 
covered with them, when the wind blew them about, it produced 
an effed: which was calculated to difturb very much the devotions 
of the worfhippers.^ We hardly need remark that this is juft the 
fame kind of worfhip which exifted at Ifernia, in the kingdom of 
Naples, where it was prefented in the fame fhape. At Embrun, in 
the department of the Upper Alps, the phallus of St. Foutin was 
worfhipped in a different form ; the women poured a libation of 
wine upon the head of the phallus, which was coUeded in a 
vefTel, in which it was left till it became four; it was then called 
the " fainte vinaigre," and the women employed it for a purpofe 
which is only obfcurely hinted at. When the Proteflants took 
Embrun in 1585, they found this phallus laid up carefully 

1 La Confeffion de Sancy forms the fifth volume of the Journal d^ Henri III, by 
Pierre de L'Elloile, ed. Duchat. See pp. 383, 391, of that volume. 

2 ♦' Temoin Saint Foutin de Varailles en Provence, auquel font dediees les parties 
honteules de I'un et de I'autre fexe, formees en cire : le plancher de la chapelle en ell 
fort garni, et, quand le vent les fait entrebattre, cela debauche un peu les devotions a 
I'honneur de ce Saint." 


among the relics in the principal church, its head red with the 
wine which had been poured upon it. A much larger phallus 
of wood, covered with leather, was an objed: of worfhip in the 
church of St. F.utropius at Orange, but it was feizcd by the Pro- 
teilants and burnt publicly in 1562. St. Foutin was fimilarly an 
objedl of worfhip at Porigny, at Gives in the diocefe of Viviers, 
at Vendre in the Bourbonnais, at Auxerre, at Puy-en-Velay, in the 
convent of Girouet near Sampigny, and in other places. At a 
diftance of about four leagues from Clermont in Auvergne, there 
is (or was) an ifolated rock, which prefents the form of an immenfe 
phallus, and which is popularly called St. Foutin. Similar phallic 
faints were worfhipped under the names of St. Guerlichon, or Gre- 
luchon, at Bourg-Dieu in the diocefe of Bourges, of St. Gilles in the 
Cotentin in Britany, of St. Rene in Anjou, of St. Regnaud in Bur- 
gundy, of St. Arnaud, and above all of St. Guignolc near Breft 
and at the village of La Chatelette in Berri. Many of thefe were 
ftill in exiftence and their worfhip in full pradice in the laft cen- 
tury ; in fome of them, the wooden phallus is defcribed as being 
much worn down by the continual procefs of fcraping, while in 
others the lofs fuftained by fcraping was always reftored by a 
miracle. This miracle, however, was a very clumfy one, for the 
phallus confifted of a long ftaff of wood pafTed through a hole in 
the middle of the body, and as the phallic end in front became 
fhortened, a blow of a mallet from behind thruft it forward, fo 
that it was reftored to its original length. 

It appears that it was alfo the practice to worfhip thefe faints in 
another manner, which alfo was derived from the forms of the 
worfhip of Priapus among the ancients, with whom it was the 
cuftom, in the nuptial ceremonies, for the bride to ofl'er up her 
virginity to Priapus, and this was done by placing her fexual parts 
againfl; the end of the phallus, and fomctimes introducing the latter, 
and even completing the facrifice. This ceremony is reprefentcd in 


a bas-relief in marble, an engraving of which is given in the Mufee 
Secret of the antiquities of Herculaneum and Pompeii ; its objeft 
was to conciliate the favour of the god, and to avert fterility. 
It is defcribed by the early Chriftian writers, fuch as Ladantius and 
Arnobius, as a very common pradice among the Romans; and it 
ftill prevails to a great extent over moft part of the Eaft, from India 
to Japan and the iilands of the Pacific. In a public fquare in 
Batavia, there is a cannon taken from the natives and placed there 
as a trophy by the Dutch government. It prefents the peculiarity 
that the touch-hole is made on a phallic hand, the thumb placed in 
the poiition which is called the "fig," and which we fhall have to 
defcribe a little further on. At night, the fl:erile Malay women go 
to this cannon and fit upon the thumb, and rub their parts with it 
to produce fruitfulnefs. When leaving, they make an offering of 
a bouquet of flowers to the "fig." It is always the fame idea of 
reverence to the fertilizing powers of nature, of which the garland 
or the bunch of flowers was an appropriate emblem. There are 
traces of the exifl:ence of this pradice in the middle ages. In the 
cafe of fome of the priapic faints mentioned above, women fought 
a remedy for barrennefs by kifling the end of the phallus ; 
fometimes they appear to have placed a part of their body naked 
againfl: the image of the faint, or to have fat upon it. This latter 
trait was perhaps too bold an adoption of the indecencies of pagan 
worfliip to laft long, or to be prafticed openly ; but it appears to 
have been more innocently reprefented by lying upon the body of 
the faint, or fitting upon a flione, underfl:ood to reprefent him 
without the prefence of the energetic member. In a corner in 
the church of the village of St. Fiacre, near Mouceaux in France, 
there is a ftone called the chair of St. Fiacre, which confers fe- 
cundity upon women who fit upon it ; but it is necefl^ary that 
nothing fliould intervene between their bare ficin and the ftone. 
In the church of Orcival in Auvergne, there was a pillar which 


barren women kifled for the fame purpofe, and which had perhaps 
replaced fome lefs equivocal objecft.^ Traditions, at leaf!:, of 
fimilar pradlices were connedled with St. Foutin, for it appears 
to have been the cuftom for girls on the point of marriage to 
orter their lalt maiden robe to that faint. This fuperftition 
prevailed to fuch an extent that it became proverbial. A ftory 
is told of a young bride who, on the wedding night, fought 
to deceive her hulliand on the queftion of her previous chaftity, 
although, as the writer expreffes it, "fhe had long ago de- 
pofited the robe of her virginity on the altar of St. Foutin."^ 
From this form of fuperftition is faid to havearifen a vice which is 
underftood to prevail efpecially in nunneries — the ufe by women of 
artificial phalli, which appears in its origin to have been a religious 
ceremony. It certainly exifted at a very remote period, for it is 
diftindlly alluded to in the Scriptures,'^ where it is evidently con- 
fidered as a part of pagan worftiip. It is found at an early period 
of the middle ages, defcribed in the Ecclefiaftical Penitentials, with 
its appropriate amount of penitence. One of thefe penitential 
canons of the eighth century fpeaks of "a woman who, by herfelf 
or with the help of another woman, commits uncleannefs," for 
which fhe was to do penance for three years, one on bread and water; 
and if this uncleannefs were committed with a nun, the penance 
was increafed to feven years, two only on bread and water.* 

1 Dulaure relates that one day a villager's wife entering this church, and finding 
only a burly canon in it, aflced him earnestly, •' Where is the pillar which makes 
women fruitful ? " " I," faid the canon, " I am the pillar." 

2 " Sponfa quasdam ruRica quae jam in finu Divi Futini virginitatis fus przetextam 
depofuerat." Faceti^ Facetiarum, p. 277. Thefes inaugurales de Virginihus. 

3 Ezekiel, xvi, i 7. Within a few years there has been a confiderable manufadure 
of thefe objefts in Paris, and it was underllood that they were chiefly exported to Italy, 
where they were fold in the nunneries. 

^ Mulier qualicumque molimine aut per fcipfan aut cum altera fornicans tres 


Another Penitential of an early date provides for the cafe in which 
both the women who participated in this ad fhould be nuns ;^ and 
Burchardus, bifhop of Worms, one of the moft celebrated autho- 
rities on such fubjefts, defcribes the instrument and ufe of it in 
greater detail.^ The pradice had evidently loft its religious cha- 
racter and degenerated into a mere indulgence of the paffions. 

Antwerp has been defcribed as the Lampfacus of Belgium, and 
Priapus was, down to a comparatively modern period, its patron 
faint, under the name of Ters, a word the derivation of which ap- 
pears to be unknown, but which was identical in meaning with the 
Greek ^/z^/A^j and the l.Rtm fafcinum. John Goropius Becan, who 
publiftied a learned treatife on the antiquities of Antwerp in the 
middle of the fixteenth century, informs us how much this Ters was 
reverenced in his time by the Antwerpians,efpecially by the women, 
who invoked it on every occafion when they were taken by fur- 
prife or fudden fear.^ He ftates that "if they let fall by accident a 
veffel of earthenware, or ftumbled, or if any unexpected accident 
caufed them vexation, even the moft refpectable women called aloud 

annos poeniteat, unum ex his pane et aqua. Cum fanftimoniali per machinam 
fornicans, annos feptem poeniteat, duos ex his in pane et aqua. Colkaio Antiqu. 
Canon. Panit. ap. Martene et Durand, Thefaurus Anecdotorum, iv, 52. 

1 Mulier qualicumque molimine aut feipfam polluens, aut cum altera fornicans 
quatuor annos. Sanftimonialis foemina cum fanftimoniali per machinamentum pol- 
luta, feptem annos. MS. Pcenitent. quoted in Ducange, fub. v. Machinamentum. 

2 Fecifti quod quaedam mulieres facere folent, ut faceres quoddam molimen aut 
machinamentum in modum virilis membri, ad menfuram tus voluntatis, et illud 
loco verendorum tuorum, aut alterius, cum aliquibus ligaturis colligares, et fornica- 
tionem faceres cum aliis mulierculis, vel alise eodem inftrumento five alio tecum ? 

Si fecifti, quinque annos per legitimas ferias poeniteas. Fecifti quod qusdam 

mulieres facere folent, ut jam fupradidlo molimine, vel alio aliquo machinamento, tu 
ipfa in te folam faceres fornicationem ? Si fecifti, unum annum per legitimas ferias 
poeniteas. Burchardi Pcenit. lib. xix, p. 277, 8vo. ed. The holy bifliop appears 
to have been very intimately acquainted with the whole proceeding. 

3 Johannis Goropii Becani Origines Antwerpiana, 1569, lib. i, pp. 26, loi. 



for the prote(5lion of Priapus under this ohfcenc name." Goropius 
Becanus adds that there was in his time, over the door of a 
houfe adjoining the prifon, a ftatue which had been furniHied 
with a large phallus, then worn away or broken off. Among 
other writers who mention this ftatueis Abraham Goinitz, whopub- 
lifhed an account of his travels in France and Belgium, in 163 i,' 
and he informs us that it was a carving in ftone, about a foot high, 
with its arms raifed up, and its legs fpread out, and that the phallus 
had been entirely worn out by the women, who had been in the 
habit of fcraping it and making a potion of the duft which they 
drank as a prefervative againft barrennefs. Goinitz further tells 
us that a figure of Priapus was placed over the entrance gate to the 
enclofure of the temple of St. Walburgis at Antwerp, which fome 
antiquaries imagined to have been built on the fite of a temple 
dedicated to that deity. It appears from thefe writers that, at 
certain times, the women of Antwerp decorated the phalli of thefe 
figures with garlands. 

The ufe of priapic figures as amulets, to be carried on the perfon 
as prefervatives againft the evil eye and other noxious influences, 
which we have fpoken of as fo common among the Romans, was 
certainly continued through the middle ages, and, as we fliall fee 
prefently, has not entirely difappeared. It was natural enough to 
believe that if this figure were falutary when merely looked upon, it 
muft be much more fo when carried conftantly on the perfon. The 
Romans gave the VlZTCl^ fafcinum^ in old Frenchy>/«^, to the phallic 
amulet, as well as to the fame figure under other circumftances. It 
is an objed of which we could hardly expedl to find dired: mention 
in mediaeval writers, but we meet with examples of the objedt itfelf, 
ufually made of lead (a proof of its popular charadler), and ranging 
in date perhaps from the fourteenth to the earlier part of the 

^ Golnitzii Itinerarium BeigUo-Gallicum, p. 52. 



fixteenth century. As we owe our knowledge of thefe phallic 
amulets almoft entirely to one collector, M. Forgeais of Paris, who 
obtained them chiefly from one fource — the river Seine, our prefent 
acquaintance with them may be confidered as very limited, and 
we have every reafon for believing that they had been in ufe 
during the earlier period. We can only illufl:rate this part of the 
fubjeft by defcribing a few of thefe mediaeval phallic amulets, 
which are preferved in fome private colle6lions ; and we will firfl: 
call attention to a feries of objefts, the real purpofe of which 
appears to be very obfcure. They are fmall leaden tokens or 
medalets, bearing on the obverfe the figure of the male or female 
organ, and on the reverfe a crofs, a curious intimation of the 
adoption of the worfhip of the generative powers among Chriftians. 
Thefe leaden tokens, found in the river Seine, were firft collected 
and made known to antiquaries by M. Forgeais, who publifhed 
examples of them in his work on the leaden figures found in that 
river.^ We give five examples of the medals of each fex, obverfe 
and reverfe.^ It will be feen that the phalli on thefe tokens are 
nearly all furnifhed with wings ; one has a bird's legs and claws ; 
and on another there is an evident intention to reprefent a bell 
fufpended to the neck. Thefe charaderiftics fhow either a very 
difliind: tradition of the forms of the Roman phallic ornament, or 
an imitation of examples of Roman phalli then exifliing — poffibly 
the latter. But this is not neceflary, for the bells borne by two 
examples, given in our next plate, and alfo taken from the collection 
of M. Forgeais are mediaeval, and not Roman bells, though thefe 
alfo reprefent well-known ancient forms of treating the fubject. In 
the firfl:,^ a female is riding upon the phallus, which has men's legs, 

1 Notice fur des Plombs Hiftories trouves dans la Seine, et recueillis par Arthur 
Forgeais. 8vo, Paris, 1858. 

2 See our Plate xxxiii. 3 Plate xxxiv. Fig. i. 


and is held by a bridle. This figure was evidently intended to be 
attached to the drefs as a brooch, for the pin which fixed it ftill 
remains on the back. Two other examples^ prefent figures of winged 
phalli, one with a bell, and the other with the ring remaining from 
which thebellhasnodoubtbeen broken. One of thefe has the dog's 
legs. A fourth example'- reprefents an enormous phallus attached to 
themiddleofa fmall num. In another,'^ which was evidently intended 
for fufpenfion, probably at the neck, the organs of the two fexes 
are joined together. Three other leaden fiures,^apparently amulets, 
which were in the Forgeais colledion, offer a very peculiar variety 
of form, reprefenting a figure, which we might fuppofe to be a male 
by its attributes, though it has a very feminine look, and wears the 
robe and hood of a woman. Its peculiarity confifts in having a 
phallus before and behind. We have on the fame plate' a ftill more 
remarkable example ofthe combination ofthecrofs with the emblems 
of the worfhip of which we are treating, in an objedl found at 
San Agata di Goti, near Naples, which was formerly in the Beref- 
ford Fletcher coUeftion, and is now in that of Ambrofe Rufchen- 
berger, Efq., of Bofton, U. S. It is 2icrux anfata, formed by four 
phalli, with a circle of female organs round the centre; and appears 
by the loop to have been intended for fufpenfion. As this crofs is 
of gold, it had no doubt been made for fome perfonage of rank, 
poftibly an ecclefiaftic; and we can hardly help fufpeding that it 
had fome conneftion with priapic ceremonies or feftivities. The 
laft figure on the fame plate is alfo taken from the colledion of M. 
Forgeais.^ From the monkifh cowl and the cord round the body, 
we may perhaps take it for a fatire upon the friars, fome of whom 
wore no breeches, and they were all charged with being great cor- 
rupters of female morals. 

' Plate XXXIV, Figs. 2 and 3. ^ Plate xxxiv. Fig. 4. 

3 Plate XXXIV, Fig. 5. '' Plate xxxv. Figs, i, 2, and 3. 

5 Plate xxxv. Fig. 4. "^ Plate xxxv. Fig. 5. 


In Italy we can trace the continuous ufe of thefe phallic amulets 
down to the prefent time much more diftinftly than in our more 
Weftern countries. There they are ftill in very common ufe, and 
we give two examples^ of bronze amulets of this defcription, which 
are commonly fold in Naples at the prefent day for a carlo, equiva- 
lent to fourpence in Englifh money, each. One of them, it will be 
feen, is encircled by a ferpent. So important are thefe amulets 
confidered for the perfonal fafety of thofe who poffefs them, that 
there is hardly a peafant who is without one, which he ufually 
carries in his waiftcoat pocket. 

There was another, and lefs openly apparent, form of the phallus, 
which has lafted as an amulet during almoft innumerable ages. 
The ancients had two forms of what antiquaries have named the 
phallic hand, one in which the middle finger was extended at 
length, and the thumb and other fingers doubled up, while in the 
other the whole hand was clofed, but the thumb was paffed between 
the firft and middle fingers. The firfl: of thefe forms appears to 
have been the more ancient, and is understood to have been in- 
tended to reprefent, by the extended middle finger, the membrum 
virile^ and by the bent fingers on each fide the tefl:icles. Hence 
the middle finger of the hand was called by the Romans, digitus 
impudicus, or infamis. It was called by the Greeks Karairvr^oiv, 
which had fomewhat the fame meaning as the Latin word, except 
that it had reference efpecially to degrading prad:ices, which were 
then lefs concealed than in modern times. To Ihow the hand in 
this form was exprefled in Greek by the word aKifj,a\t^€Lv, and 
was confidered as a mofl: contemptuous infult, becaufe it was under- 
ftood to intimate that the perfon to whom it was addrefi"ed was 
addicted to unnatural vice. This was the meaning alfo given to it 

1 Plate XXXVI, Figs, i and 2. 


by the Romans, as we learn from the hrft lines of an epigram of 

Martial: — 

♦* Rideto inultum, qui te, Sextille, ciiu-cdum 
Dixerit, et digiturn porrigito medium.^' 

Martial, Ep. ii, 28. 

Neverthelefs, this gefture of the hand was looked upon at an early 
period as an amulet againft magical influences, and, formed of 
different materials, it was carried on the perfon in the fame manner 
as the phallus. It is not an uncommon objed: among Roman an- 
tiquities, and was adopted by the Gnoftics as one of their fymbolical 
images. The fecond of thefe forms of the phallic hand, the inten- 
tion of which is eafily feen (the thumb forming the phallus), was 
alfo well known among the Romans, and is found made ot various 
material, fuch as bronze, coral, lapis lazuli, and chryftal, of a fize 
which was evidently intended to be fufpended to the neck or to 
fome other part of the perfon. In the Mufee Secret at Naples, 
there are examples of fuch amulets, in the fhape of two arms joined 
at the elbow, one terminating in the head of a phallus, the other 
having a hand arranged in the form juft defcribed, which feem to 
have been intended for pendents to ladies' ears. This gefture of 
the hand appears to have been called at a later period of Latin, 
though we have no knowledge of the date at which this ufe of the 
word began,/f«j-, a fig. Ficus being a word in the feminine gen- 
der, appears to have fallen in the popular language into the more 
common form of feminine nouns,7?crt, out of which arofe the Italian 
Jica (now replaced hy Jico), the Spanifti higa, and the French figue. 
Florio, who gives the word/c^, a fig, fays that it was alfo ufed in the 
fenfe of "a woman's quaint," fo that it may perhaps be clafl'ed with 
one or two other fruits, fuch as the pomegranate and the apricot, 
to which a fimilar erotic meaning was given. ^ The form, under 

1 See before, p. 1 36. Among the Romans, the fig was confidered as a fruit 
confecrated to Priapus, on account, it is faid, of its produdivenefs. 


this name, was preferved through the middle ages, efpecially in the 
South of Europe, where Roman traditions were ftrongeft,both as an 
amulet and as an infulting geftture. The Italian called this gefture 
fare la fie a ^ to make or do the fig to any one; the Spaniard, dar 
una higa^ to give a fig ; and the Frenchman, like the lta.\\a.n, /aire 
lafigue. We can trace this phrafe back to the thirteenth century 
at leaft. In the judicial proceedings againft the Templars in Paris 
in 1309, one of the brethren of the Order was afked, jokingly, in 
his examination, becaufe he was rather loofe and flippant in his 
replies, " if he had been ordered by the faid receptor (the officer of 
the Templars who admitted the new candidate) to make with his 
fingers the fig at the crucifix." ^ Here the word ufed is the corred: 
Y.iiXAnficus ; and it is the fame in the plural, in a document of the 
year 1449, in which an individual is faid to have made figs with both 
hands at another.^ This phrafe appears to have been introduced 
into the Englifii language in the time of Elizabeth, and to have 
been taken from the Spaniards, with whom our relations were then 
intimate. This we affume from the circumfl:ance that the Englifii 
phrafe was " to give the fig " [dar la higa)'^ and that the writers of 
the Elizabethan age call it " the fig of Spain." Thus, " ancient " 
Pifl:ol, in Shakefpeare : — 

** A figo for thy friendfhip ! — 

The fig of Spain." Henry V, iii. 6. 

^ Item, cum prEediftus teftis videretur efl'e valde facilis et procax ad loquendum, 
et in pluribus diftis fuis non eflet ftabilis, fed quafi varians et vacilans, fuit interro- 
gatus fi fuit ei prsceptum a difto receptore quod cum digitis manus {w£ faceret ficuni 
Crucifixo, quando ipfum videret, et fi fuit ei di(^um quod hoc eflet de punftis 
ordinis, refpondit quod nunquam audivit loqui de hoc. Michelet, Proces des 
Templiers, Tome i, p. 255, 410. Paris, 1841. 

2 Ambabus manibus fecit ficus didlo Sermes. MS. quoted in Ducange, fub v. 

3 *< Behold next I fee contempt, giving me the fco.'" Wit's Mifery, quoted in 
Nares, v. Fico. 


The phrale has been preferved in all thefe countries down to modern 
times and we ftill fay in Englifh, "a fig for anybody," or" for any- 
thing," not meaning that we eftimate them at no more than the 
value of a fig, but that we throw at them that contempt which was 
intimated by fhowing them the phallic hand, and which the Greeks, 
as ftated above, called (TKL\ia\it,^Lv. The form of fhowing con- 
tempt which was called the fig is ftill well known among the lower 
clafTes of fociety in England, and it is preferved in moft of the 
countries of Weftern Europe. In Baretti's Spanifh Dicftionary, 
which belongs to the commencement of the prefent century, we 
find the word higa interpreted as "A manner of fcofiing at people, 
which confifts in fhowing the thumb between the firft and fecond 
finger, clofing the fift, and pointing at the perfon to whom we 
want to give this hateful mark of contempt." Baretti alfo gives as 
ftill in ufe the original meaning of the word, " ///g-^, a little hand 
made of jet, which they hang about children to keep them from 
evil eyes ; a fuperftitious cuftom." The ufe of this amulet is ftill 
common in Italy, and efpecially in Naples and Sicily ; it has 
an advantage over the mere form of the phallus, that when the 
artificial /^^ is not prefent, an individual, who finds or believes 
himfelf in fudden danger, can make the amulet with his own fingers. 
So profound is the belief of its efficacy in Italy, that it is com- 
monly believed and reported there that, at the battle of Solferino, 
the king of Italy held his hand in his pocket with this arrange- 
ment of the fingers as a protedion againft the fliots of the enemy. 
There were perfonages conneded with the worfhip of Priapus 
who appear to have been common to the Romans under and 
before the empire, and to the foreign races who fettled upon its 
ruins. The Teutonic race believed in a fpiritual being who in- 
habited the woods, and who was called in old German /rr^/. His 
charader was more general than that of a mere habitant of the 
woods, for it anfwered to the Englifh hobgoblin, or to the Irifti 


cluricaune. The fcrat was the fpirit of the woods, under which 
charad:er he was fometimes called a waltfcrat, and of the fields, and 
alfo of the houfehold, the domeftic fpirit, the ghoft haunting the 
houfe. His image was probably looked upon as an amulet, a pro- 
tedion to the houfe, as an old German vocabulary of the year 
1482, explainsy<r-^r^///«, little fcrats, by the Latin word penates. 
The lafcivious character of this fpirit, if it wanted more dired; 
evidence, is implied by the fadl that/m//^, in Anglo-Saxon, and 
Jcrat^ in old Englifh, meant a hermaphrodite. Accordingly, the 
mediaeval vocabularies explainy^rr^/ by Latin equivalents, which all 
indicate companions or emanations of Priapus, and in fadl, Priapus 
himfelf Ifidore gives the name of Piloft^ or hairy men, and tells 
us that they were called in Greek, Panitae (apparently an error for 
Ephialtae), and in Latin, Incubi and Inibi, the latter word derived 
from the verb inire, and applied to them on account of their inter- 
courfe with animals.^ They were in fad; the fauns and fatyrs of 
antiquity, haunted like them the wild woods, and were charaderized 
by the fame petulance towards the other fex.^ Woe to the modefty 
of maiden or woman who ventured incautioufly into their haunts. 
As Incubi,, they vifited the houfe by night, and violated the 
perfons of the females, and fome of the moft celebrated heroes of 
early mediaeval romances, fuch as Merlin, were thus the children 
of incubi. They were known at an early period in Gaul by the 
name of Dufii,^ from which, as the church taught that all thefe 

1 Pilofi, qui Grasce Panits, Latine Incubi, appellantur, five Inivi, ab ineundo 
paffim cum animalibus ; unde et Incubi dicuntur ab incumbendo, hoc eft, ftuprando. 
Ifidori EtymoL, lib. viii, c. 9. 

2 Saepe etiam improbi exiftunt, etiam mulieribus, et earum peragunt concubitum. 
Ifidor. ib. 

3 Et quofdam daemones quos Dufios Galli nuncupant, banc affidue immunditiam et 
tentare et efficere plures talesque afleverant, ut hoc negare impudentias videatur. 
Auguftin. De Civitate Dei, lib. xv, c 23. Conf. Ifidor., loc. cit. 


mythic perfonages were devils, we derive our modern word 
Deuce^ ufed in fuch phrafes as "the Deuce take you!" The term 
ficarii was alfo applied to them in medi.Tval Latin, either from 
the meaning of the word ficus^ mentioned before,^ or becaufe 
they were fond of figs. Moft of thefe Latin fynonyms are given 
in the Anglo-Saxon vocabulary of Alfric, and are interpreted as 
meaning "evil men, fpirits of the woods, evil beings."^ One of the 
old commentators on the Scriptures defcribes thefe fpirits of the 
woods as "monfters in the femblance of men, whofe form begins 
with the human fhape and ends in the extremity of a beaft."'^ They 
were, in faft, half man, half goat, and were identical with a clafs of 
hobgoblins, who at a rather later period were well known in Kngland 
by the popular name of Robin Goodfellows, whofe Priapic cha- 
rader is fufficiently proved by the pidures of them attached to 
feme of our early printed ballads, of which we give facfimiles. The 
firft' is a figure of Robin Goodfellow, which forms the illuftration 
to a very popular ballad of the earlier part of the feventeenth cen- 
tury, entitled "The mad merry Pranks of Robin Goodfellow;" he 
is reprefented party-coloured, and with the priapic attribute. The 
next^ is a fecond illuftration of the fame ballad, in which Robin 
Goodfellow is reprefented as Priapus, goat-ftiaped, with his attributes 
ftill more ftrongly pronounced, and furrounded by a circle of his 
worftiippers dancing about him. Reappears here in the character 

1 See before, p. 149. 

2 Satiri, vel fauni, vel fehni (for obfcceni), velfauni ficarii, unfxle men, wude- 
wafan, unfaele wihta. Wright's Volume of Vocabularies, p. 17. Sec, for further 
illuftration of this fubjeft, Grimm's Deutfche M^thologie, p. 272 ct feq. 

3 Pilofi, monflra iunt ad fimilitudinem hominum, quorum forma ab humana 
effigie incipit, fed beftiali extremitate terminatur, vel funt djemoncs incubones, vel 
fatyri, vel homines filveftres. Mamotreftus in Ifaiam, xiii. 21. 

4 See Plate xxxvi. Fig. 5. From a copy of the black-letter ballad in the library 
of the Britifh Mufcum. 

s Plate xxxvii. Fig. 2. From the fame ballad. 




afliimed by the demon at the fabbath of the witches, of which we 
fhall have to fpeak a little further on. The Romifh Church created 
great confufion in all thefe popular fuperftitions by confidering the 
mythic perfons with whom they were conneded as fo many devils; 
and one of thefe Priapic demons is figured in a cut which feems to 
have been a favourite one, and is often repeated as an illuftration 
of the broadfide ballads of the age of James I. and Charles 1/ It is 
Priapus reduced to his loweft ftep of degradation. 

Befides the invocations addrefled individually to Priapus, or to 
the generative powers, the ancients had eftablished great feflivals 
in their honour, which were remarkable for their licentious gaiety, 
and in which the image of the phallus was carried openly and in 
triumph. Thefe feftivities were efpecially celebrated among the 
rural population, and they were held chiefly during the fummer 
months. The preparatory labours of the agriculturifl: were over, 
and people had leifure to welcome with joyfulnefs the adivity of 
nature's reprodu6live powers, which was in due time to bring their 
fruits. Among the mofl: celebrated of thefe fefliivals were the 
Liberalia, which were held on the 17th of March. A monfl:rous 
phallus was carried in proceflion in a car, and its worfliippers 
indulged loudly and openly in obfcene fongs, converfation, and 
attitudes, and when it halted, the mofl: refpeftable of the matrons 
ceremoniously crowned the head of the phallus with a garland. 
The Bacchanalia, reprefenting the Dionyfia of the Greeks, were 
celebrated in the latter part of Oftober, when the harvefl: was 
completed, and were attended with much the fame ceremonies as 
the Liberalia. The phallus was fimilarly carried in proceflion, and 
crowned, and, as in the Liberalia, the feftivities being carried on 
into the night, as the celebrators became heated with wine, they 
degenerated into the extreme of licentioufnefs, in which people 

1 Plate xxxvn. Fig. i. From two black-letter ballads in the Britifh Mufeum, 
one entitled, " A warning for all Lewd Liters," the other, *'A ftrange and true 
News from Weftmoreland." 


indulged without a hlufl-i in the moft imfamous vices. The feftival 
of Venus was celebrated towards the beginning of April, and in it 
the phallus was again carried in its car, and led in proceflion by 
the Roman ladies to the temple of Venus outfide the Colline gate, 
and there prefented by them to the fexual parts of the goddefs. 
This part of thefcene is reprefented in a well-known intaglio, which 
has been publifhed in feveral works on antiquities. At the clofe 
of the month laft mentioned came the Floralia, which, if poffible, 
excelled all the others in licence. Aufonius, in whofe time (the 
latter half of the fourth century) the Floralia were ftill in full 
force, fpeaks of their lafcivioufnefs — 

Necnon lafcivi Floralia laeta theatri, 

Quce fpeftare volunt qui voluifle negant. 

Aufonii Eclog. de Feriis Rom ants. 

Theioofe women of the town and its neighbourhood, called together 
by the foundingof horns, mixed with the multitude in perfeft naked- 
nefs, and excited their palTions with obfcene motions and language, 
until the feftival ended in a fcene of mad revelry, in which all 
reftraint was laid afide. Juvenal defcribes a Roman dame of very 
depraved manners as — 

Digniflima prorfus 

Florali matrona tuba. 

Juvenalis Sat. vi, 1. 249. 

Thefe fcenes of unbounded licence and depravity, deeply rooted in 
people's minds by long eftablifhed cuftoms, caufed fo little public 
fcandal, that it is related of Cato the younger that, when he was 
prefent at the celebration of the Floralia, inftead of fliowing any 
difapproval of them, he retired, that his well-known gravity might 
be no reftraint upon them, becaufe the multitude manifefted lome 
hefitation in ftripping the women naked in the prefence of a man 
fo celebrated for his modefty.^ The feftivals more fpecially dedi- 

1 Catonem, inquam, ilium, quo fedente populus negatur permififle fibi poftulare 
Florales jocos nudandarum meretricura. Senecae Epiji. xcvii. 


cated to Priapus, the Priapeia, were attended with fimilar cere- 
monies and fimilarly licentious orgies. Their forms and charac- 
teriftics are better known, becaufe they are fo frequently repre- 
fented to us as the fubjefts of works of Roman art. The Romans 
had other feftivals of fimilar charadler, but of lefs importance, 
fome of which were of a more private character, and fome were 
celebrated in ftrid: privacy. Such were the rites of the Bona Dea, 
eftablifhed among the Roman matrons in the time of the re- 
public, the diforders of which are defcribed in fuch glowing lan- 
guage by the fatirift Juvenal, in his enumeration of the vices of 
the Roman women : — 

Nota Bons fecreta Dese, quum tibia lumbos 

Incitat, et cornu pariter vinoque feruntur 

Attonitae, crinemque rotant, ululantque Priapi 

Maenades. O quantus tunc illis mentibus ardor 

Concubitus! quae vox faltante libidine! quantus 

Ille meri veteris per crura madentia torrens! 

Lenonum ancillas pofita Saufeia corona 

Provocat, et tollit pendentis prsemia coxae. 

Ipfa Medullinge fluftum criffantis adorat. 

Palmam inter dominas virtus natalibus aequat. 

Nil ibi per ludum fimulabitur : omnia fient 

Ad verum, quibus incendi jam frigidus sevo 

Laomedontiades et Neftoris hernia poffit. 

Tunc prurigo morae impatiens, tunc femina fimplex, 

Et toto pariter repetitus clamor ab antro : 

Jam fas eft : admitte viros ! 

Juvenalis Sat. vi, 1. 314. 

Among the Teutonic, as well as among moft other peoples, 
fimilar fefl:ivals appear to have been celebrated during the fummer 
months ; and, as they arofe out of the fame feelings, they no doubt 
prefented the fame general forms. The principal popular fefl:ivals 
of the fummer during the middle ages occurred in the months 
of April, May, and June, and comprifed Eafl:er, May-day, and 
the feaft of the fummer folftice. All thefe appear to have been 


originally accompanied with the fame phallic worfhip which formed 
the principal charafteriftic of the great Roman feftivals ; and, in 
fadljthefe are exadly thofe popular inftitutions and traits of popular 
manners which were moft likely to outlive, alfo without any material 
change, the overthrow of the Roman empire by the barbarians. 
Although, at the time when we become intimately acquainted with 
thefe feftivals, moft of the prominent marks of their phallic cha- 
racter had been abandoned and forgotten, yet we meet during the 
interval with fcattered indications which leave no room to doubt of 
their former exiftence. It will be interefting to examine into fome 
of thefe points, and to ftiow the influence they exerted on medieval 

The firft of the three great feftivals juft mentioned was purely 
Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic ; but it appears in the firft place to have 
been identified with the Roman Liberalia, and it was further tranf- 
formed by the Catholic church into one of the great Chriftian reli- 
gious feafts. In the primitive Teutonic mythology there was a 
female deity named, in Old German, OJlara, and, in Anglo-Saxon, 
Eajlre, or Eojlre, but all we know of her is the fimple ftatement of 
our father of hiftory, Bede, that her feftival was celebrated by the 
ancient Saxons in the month of April, from which circumftance, 
that month was named by the Anglo-Saxons Eajler-monath, or 
Eojler-monath^ and that the name of the goddefs had been fubfe- 
quently given to the Pafchal time, with which it was identical.' 
The name of this goddefs was given to the fame month by the old 
Germans and by the Franks, fo that ftie muft have been one of the 
moft highly honoured of the Teutonic deities, and her feftval muft 

' Antiqui autem Anglorum populi . . . Eollurmonath, qui nunc pafchalis menfis 
interpretatur, quondam a dca illorum qu;e Eoilre vocabatur, et cui in illo fella cele- 
brabant, nomcn habuit; a cujus nomine nunc paichale tempus cognominant, conlueto 
antiquie oblervationis vocabulo gaudia novie lolennitatis vocantes. Bedie De Tem- 
porum Ratione, cap. xv. 


have been a very important one, and deeply implanted in the 
popular feelings, or the church would not have fought to identify 
it with one of the greateft Chriftian festivals of the year. It is 
underftood that the Romans confidered this month as dedicated 
to Venus, no doubt becaufe it was that in which the productive 
power of nature began to be vifibly developed. When the Pagan 
feftival was adopted by the church, it became a moveable feaft 
inftead of being fixed to the month of April. Among other 
objedts offered to the goddefs at this time were cakes, made no 
doubt of fine flour, but of their form we are ignorant. The Chrif- 
tians, when they feized upon the Eaflier feftival, gave them the form of 
a bun, which, indeed, was at that time the ordinary form of bread ; 
and to proteft themfelves, and thofe who eat them, from any enchant- 
ment, or other evil influences which might arife from their former 
heathen charad:er, they marked them with the Chriftian fymbol — 
the crofs. Hence were derived the cakes we ftill eat at Eafter under 
the name of hot-crofs-buns, and the fuperftitious feelings attached 
to them, for multitudes of people ftill believe that if they failed to 
eat a hot-crofs-bun on Good-Friday they would be unlucky all 
the reft of the year. But there is fome reafon for believing that, 
at leaft in fome parts, the Eafter-cakcs had originally a different 
form — that of the phallus. Such at leaft appears to have been the 
cafe in France, where the cuftom ftill exifts. In Saintonge, in the 
neighbourhood of La Rochelle, fmall cakes, baked in the form of a 
phallus, are made as offerings at Eafter, and are carried and pre- 
fented from houfe to houfe ; and we have been informed thatfimilar 
pra6tices exift in fome other places. When Dulaure wrote, the 
feftival of Palm Sunday, in the town of Saintes, was called th.^. fete 
des pmneSy pinne being a. popular and rather vulgar word for the 
membrum virile. At this fete the women and children carried in 
the procefTion, at the end of their palm branches, a phallus made of 
bread, which they called undifguifedly spinney and which, having 


been bleft by the prieft, the women carefully preferved during the 
following year as an amulet. A fimilar practice exifted at St. Jean- 
d'Angcly, where fmall cakes, made in the form of the phallus, and 
nAn\c6.fateux, were carried in the procefTion of the Fete-Dieu, or 
Corpus Chrifti.' Shortly before the time when Dulaure wrote, this 
pradice was fuppreffed by a new fous-prcfet, M. Maillard. The 
cuftom of making cakes in the form of the fexual members, male 
and female, dates from a remote antiquity and was common among 
the Romans. Martial made a phallus of bread (Pr/rt/)«jy/%/«^/^j) 
the fubjecft of an epigram of two lines : — 

Si vis efTe fatur, noftrum potes efle priapum : 
Ipfe licet rodas inguina, purus eris. 

Martial, lib. xiv, cp. 69. 

The fame writer fpeaks of the image of a female organ made of 
the fame material in another of his epigrams, to explain which, it is 
only neceflary to ftate that thefe images were compofed of the finefl: 
wheaten flour [ftligo) : — 

Pauper amicitias cum fis, Lupe, non es amicae ; 

Et queritur de te mentula lola nihil. 

Ilia filigineis pinguefcit adultera cunnis ; 

Convivam pafcit nigra farina tuum. 

Martial, lib. ix, ep. 3. 

This cuftom appears to have been preferved from the Romans 
through the middle ages, and may be traced diftindly as far back 
as the fourteenth or fifteenth century. We are informed that in 
feme of the earlier inedited French books on cookery, receipts are 
given for making cakes in thefe obfcene forms, which are named 
without any concealment ; and the writer on this fubjed, who wrote 
inthefixteenth century, Johannes Bruerinus Campegius, defcribing 
the different forms in which cakes were then made, enumerates thofe 

' Dulaure, Hiftoire Abregce des Different Cultes, vol. ii, p. 285. Second Edition. 
It was priuted in 1825. 


of the fecret members of both fexes, a proof, he fays of " the de- 
generacy of manners, when Chriftians themfelves can delight in 
obfcenities and immodeft things even among their articles of food." 
He adds that fome of thefe were commonly fpoken of by a grofs 
name, des cons Jucres} When Dulaure wrote, that is juft forty years 
ago, cakes of thefe forms continued to be made in various parts of 
France, and he informs us that thofe reprefenting the male organ 
were made in the Lower Limoufin, and efpecially at Brives, while 
fimilar images of the female organ were made at Clermont in 
Auvergne, and in other places. They were popularly called miches? 
There is another cuftom attached to Eafter, which has probably 
fome relation to the worfhip of which we are treating, and which 
feems once to have prevailed throughout England, though we 
believe it is now confined to Shropfhire and Chefhire. In the 
former county it is called heaving^ in the latter lifting. On Eafter 
Monday the men go about with chairs, feize the women they meet, 
and, placing them in the chairs, raise them up, turn them round 
two or three times, and then claim the right of kifting them. On 
Eafter Tuefday, the fame thing is done by the women to the men. 
This, of courfe, is only praftifed now among the lower clafl!es, 
except fometimes as a frolic among intimate friends. The chair 
appears to have been a comparatively modern addition, fince fuch 
articles have become more abundant. In the laft century four or 
five of the one fex took the viftim of the other fex by the arms and 
legs, and lifted her or him in that manner, and the operation was 

1 Alias fingunt oblonga figura, alias fphaerica, et orbiculari, alias triangula, quad- 
rangulaque; quaedam ventricofae funt; quaedam pudenda muliebria, aliae virilia (fi 
diis placet) repraefentant; adeo degeneravere bonos mores, ut etiam Chriftianis 
obfccena et pudenda in cibis placeant. Sunt etenim quos cunnos faccharatos appe- 
litent. Jo. Bruerini Campegii De Re Cibaria, lib. vi, c. 7. — Conf. Le Grande 
d'Auffi, Hijloire de la Vie Privee des Fran^ais, vol. ii, p. 309. 

2 Dulaure, vol. ii, pp. 255 — 257. 


attended, at all events on the part of the men, with much inde- 
cency. The women ufually expe<5t a fmall contribution of money 
from the men they have lifted. More anciently, in the time of 
Durandus, that is, in the thirteenth century, a ftill more fingular 
cuftom prevailed on thefe two days. He tells us that in many 
countries, on the Eafter Monday, it was the rule for the wives to 
beat their hufliands, and that on the Tuefday the hufbands beat their 
wives.^ Brand, in his Popular Antiquities., tells us that in the city 
of Durham, in his time, it was the cuftom for the men, on the one 
day, to take off the women's ftioes, which the latter were obliged 
to purchafe back, and that on the other day the women did the 
fame to the men. 

In mediaeval poetry and romance, the month of May was cele- 
brated above all others as that confecrated to Love, which feemed 
to pervade all nature, and to invite mankind to partake in the 
general enjoyment. Hence, among nearly all peoples, its approach 
was celebrated with feftivities, in which, under various forms, wor- 
fhip was paid to Nature's reprodudlivenefs. The Romans wel- 
comed the approach of May with their Floralia, a feftival we have 
already defcribed as remarkable for licentioufnefs ; and there can- 
not be a doubt that our Teutonic forefathers had also their feftival 
of the feafon long before they became acquainted with the Romans. 
Yet much of the media:val celebration of May-day, efpecially in the 
South, appears to have been derived from the Floralia of the latter 
people. As in the Floralia, the arrival of the feftival was announced 
by the founding of horns during the preceding night, and no fooner 
had midnight arrived than the youth of both fexes proceeded in 
couples to the woods to gather branches and make garlands, with 
which they were to return juft at funrife for the purpofe of decora- 

1 In plerifque etiam regionibus mulieres fecunda die port Pafcham verberant maritos 
fuos, die vero tertia uxores fuas. Durandus, Rationale, lib. vi, c. 86 — 89. By 
fecunda die pojl Pafcham, he no doubt means Barter Monday. 



ting the doors of their houfes. In England the grand feature of 
the day was the Maypole. This maypole was the ftem of a tall 
young tree cut down for the occafion, painted of various colours, 
and carried in joyous proceffion, with minftrels playing before, 
until it reached the village green, or the open fpace in the middle 
of a town, where it was ufually fet up. It was there decked with 
garlands and flowers, the lads and girls danced round it, and people 
indulged in all forts of riotous enjoyments. All this is well de- 
fcribed by a Puritan writer of the reign of Queen Elizabeth — Philip 
Stubbes — who fays that, " againfl: Maie," " every pariflie, towne, 
and village aflemble themfelves together, bothe men, women, and 
children, olde and yong, even all indifferently ; and either goyng 
all together, or devidyng themfelves into companies, they goe fome 
to the woodes andgroves, fome to thehillesand mountaines,fometo 
one place, fome to another, where they fpende all the night inpleafant 
pafl;ymes, and in the mornyng thei returne, bryngyng with them 
birch bowes and braunches of trees to deck their afl^emblies withall, 
.... But their cheefefl; Jewell thei bryng from thence is their 
Maie pole, whiche thei bryng home with greate veneration, as thus : 
Thei have twentie or fourtie yoke of oxen, every oxe havyng a 
fweete nofegaie of flowers placed on the tippe of his homes, and 
thefe oxen drawe home this Maie poole (this fl:inckyng idoll 
rather), whiche is covered all over with flowers and hearbes, bounde 
rounde aboute with fl:rynges, from the top to the bottome, and 
fometyme painted with variable colours, with twoo or three hun- 
dred men, women, and children followyng it, with greate devotion. 
And thus beyng reared up, with handekerchiefes and flagges fl:ream- 
yng on the toppe, thei fl:rawe the grounde aboute, binde greene 
boughes about it, fett up fommer haules, bowers, and arbours hard 
by it. And then fall thei to banquet and feafl:, to leape and 
daunce aboute it, as the heathen people did, at the dedication of 


their idolles, whereof this is a perfedl patterne, or rafher the thyng 

The Puritans were deeply imprefled with the belief that the 
maypole was a fubftantial relic of Paganifm; and they were no 
doubt right. There appears to be reafon fufficient for fuppofing 
that, at a period which cannot now be afcertained, the maypole had 
taken the place of the phallus. The ceremonies attending the 
elevation of the two objeds were identical. The fame joyous pro- 
ceffion in the Roman feftivals, defcribed above, conduced the 
phallus into the midft of the town or village, where in the fame 
manner it was decked with garlands, and the worfhip partook of 
the fame charader. We may add, too, that both feftivals were 
attended with the fame licentioufnefs. " I have heard it credibly 
reported," fays the Puritan Stubbes, "and that viva voce by menne 
of greate gravitie and reputation, that of fourtie, three fcore, or a 
hundred maides goyng to the woode over night, there have fcarcely 
the third part returned home again undefiled." 

The day generally concluded with bonfires. Thefe reprefented 
the need-fire, which was intimately connected with the ancient priapic 
rites. Fire itfelf was an objed of worfhip, as the moft power- 
ful of the elements; but it was fuppofed to lofe its purity and facred 
charader in being propagated from one material to another, and 
the worfhippers fought on thefe folemn occafions to produce it in 
its primitive and pureft form. This was done by the rapid tridlion 
of two pieces of wood, attended with fuperftitious ceremonies; the 
pure element of fire was believed to exift in the wood, and to be 
thus forced out of it, and hence it was called need-fire (in Old 
German wo/'/^wdT, and in Anglo-Saxon, neod-fyr), meaning literally 
a forced fire, or fire extracted by force. Before the procefs of thus 

1 Stubbes, Anatomie of Ahufes, fol. 94, 8vo. London, 1583. 


extrafting the fire from the wood, it was neceflary that all the fires 
previoufly exifting in the village fhould be extinguifhed, and they 
were afterwards revived from the bonfire which had been lit from the 
need-fire. The whole fyftem of bonfires originated from this fuper- 
ftition ; they had beenadopted generally on occafionsofpopularre- 
joicing, and the bonfires commemorating the celebrated gunpowder 
plot are only particular applications of the general practice to an 
accidental cafe. The fuperftition of the need-fire belongs to a very 
remote antiquity in the Teutonic race, and exifted equally in 
ancient Greece. It is profcribed in the early capitularies of the 
Frankifh emperors of the Carlovingian dynafty.^ The univerfality 
of this fuperftition is proved by the circumftance that it ftill exifts 
in the Highlands of Scotland, efpecially in Caithnefs, where it is 
adopted as a protedlion for the cattle when attacked by difeafe 
which the Highlanders attribute to witchcraft.^ It was from the 
remoteft ages the cuftom to caufe cattle, and even children, to pafs 
acrofs the need-fire, as a protedion to them for the reft of their 
lives. The need-fire was kindled at Eafter, on May-day, and efpe- 
cially at the fummer folftice, on the eve of the feaft of St. John the 
Baptift, or of Midfummer-day.^ 

The eve of St. John was in popular fuperftition one of the moft 
important days of the mediaeval year. The need-fire — or the St. 
John's fire, as it was called — was kindled juft at midnight, the 
moment when the folftice was fupposed to take place, and the 
young people of both fexes danced round it, and, above all things, 

) Sive illos facrilegos ignes quos nedfratres (I. nedfyres) vocant, five omnes quae- 
cumque funt paganorum obfervationes diligenter prohibeant. Karlomanni Capitulare 
Primum, a. d. 742, in Baluzii Capitularia Regum Francorum, col. 148. Repeated in 
the Capitularium Caroli Magni et Ludovici Pit, compiled a. d. 827. See Baluz., ib., 
col. 825. 

2 Logan, The Scottijh Gael, vol. ii, p. 64, and Jamiefon's Scottijh Di£lionary, 
Suppl. iub. V. Neidfyre. 

3 See Grimm, Deutfche Mythologie, pp. 341 — 349. 


leaped over it, or rufhed through it, which was looked upon not 
only as a purification, but as a protection againft evil influences. It 
was the night when ghofts and other beings of the fpiritual world 
were abroad, and when witches had moft power. It was believed, 
even, that during this night people's fouls left the body in fleep, 
and wandered over the world, feparated from it. It was a night 
of the great meetings of the witches, and it was that in which they 
mixed their moft deadly poifons,and performed their moft effedive 
charms. It was a night efpecially favourable to divination in every 
form, and in which maidens fought to know their future fweet- 
hearts and huftiands. It was during this night, alfo, that plants 
poflefted their grcateft powers either for good or for evil, and that 
they were dug up with all due ceremonies and cautions. The more 
hidden virtues of plants, indeed, depended much on the time at 
which, and the ceremonies with which, they were gathered, and 
thefe latter were extremely fuperftitious, no doubt derived from the 
remote ages of paganifm. As ufual, the clergy applied a halt- 
remedy to the evil ; they forebade any rites or incantations in the 
gathering of medicinal herbs except by repeating the creed and the 
Lord's prayer.^ 

As already ftated, the night of St. John's, or Midfummer-eve, 
was that when ghofts and fpirits of all defcriptions were abroad, 
and when witches aflembled, and their potions, for good or for 
evil, and charms were made with moft efted. It was the night 
for popular divination, efpecially among the young maidens, who 
fought to know who were deftined to be their hufbands, what 
would be their charaders, and what their future conduct. The 
medicinal virtues of many plants gathered on St. John's eve, and 
with the due ceremonies, were tar more powerful than if gathered 

1 Non licet in coUeflione herbarum medicinalium aliquas obfervationes vel incan- 
tationes attendere, niii tantum cum iVmbulo divino et oratione dominica, ut Deus ct 
Dominus noller honoretur. Burchardi Decretorum Libri, x, 20. 


at other times. The moft fecret pradiices of the old popular fuper- 
ftitions are now moftly forgotten, but when, here and there, we 
meet with a few traces of them, they are of a character which leads 
us to believe that they belonged to a great extent to that fame 
worfhip of the generative powers which prevailed fo generally 
among all peoples. We remember that, we believe in one of the 
earlier editions of Mother Bunch, maidens who wifhed to know if 
their lovers were conftant or not were dired;ed to go out exadlly at 
midnight on St. John's eve, to ftrip themfelves entirely naked, and 
in that condition to proceed to a plant or fhrub, the name of which 
was given, and round it they were to form a circle and dance, 
repeating at the fame time certain words which they had been 
taught by their inftrudrefs. Having completed this ceremony, 
they were to gather leaves of the plant round which they had 
danced, which they were to carry home and place under their 
pillows, and what they wifhed to know would be revealed to them 
in their dreams. We have {&Q.n in fome of the mediaeval treatifes 
on the virtue of plants directions for gathering fome plants of efpe- 
cial importance, in which it was required that this fhould be per- 
formed by young girls in a fimilar ftate of complete nakednefs. 

Plants and flowers were, indeed, intimately conne6ted with this 
worfhip. We have feen how conftantly they are introduced in the 
form of garlands, and they were always among the offerings to 
Priapus. It was the univerfal practice, in dancing round the fire 
on St. John's eve, to conclude by throwing various kinds of flowers 
and plants into it, which were confidered to be propitiatory, to avert 
certain evils to which people were liable during the following year. 
Among the plants they offered are mentioned mother-wort, vervain, 
and violets. It is perhaps to this connection of plants with the old 
priapic worfhip that we owe the popular tendency to give them names 
which were more or lefs obfcene, moft of which are now loft, or 
are fo far modified as to prefent no longer the fame idea. Thus 


the well-known arum of our hedge-bottoms received the names, 
no doubt fuggefted by its form, of cuckoo's pintle, or prieft's 
pintle, or dog's pintle; and, in French, thofe of vit de chien and 
vit de prejfre ; in Englifh it is now abbreviated into cuckoo-pint, 
or, fometimes, cuckoo-point. The whole family of the orchides 
was diftinguifhed by a correfponding word, accompanied with 
various qualifications. We have in William Coles's Adam in Eden, 
(fol. 1659) the different names, for different varieties, of doggs- 
ftones, fool-ftones, fox-ftones ; in the older Heri^ai of Gerard (fol. 
1597) triple ballockes, fweet ballockes, fweet cods, goat's-ftones, 
hare's-ftones, &c ; in P'rench, couillon de bouc (the goat was efpe- 
cially conne(fted with the priapic myfteries) and couille, or couillon, 
de chien. In French, too, as we learn from Cotgrave and the 
herbals, "a kind of fallet hearbe" was caWed. couille d Veveque\ the 
greater ftone-crop was named couille au loup\ and the fpindle-tree 
was known by the name of couillon de prHre. There are feveral 
plants which poffefs fomewhat the appearance of a rough bufh 
of hair. One of thefe, a fpecies of adiantum, was known even in 
Roman times by the name of Capillus I'eneris, and in more modern 
times it has been called maiden-hair, and our lady's hair. Another 
plant, the afplenium trichomanes, was and is alfo called popularly 
maiden-hair, or maiden's-hair ; and we believe that the fame name 
has been given to one or two other plants. There is reafon for 
believing that the hair implied in thefe names was that of the pubes.^ 
We might collect a number of other old popular names of plants 
of a (imilar charader with thefe juft enumerated. 

In an old calendar of the Romifh church, which is often quoted 

1 Fumitory was another of thefe plants, and in a vocabulary of plants in a 
MS. of the middle of the thirteenth century, we find its names in Latin, French, 
and Englifh given as follows, " Fumus terra", fumeterre, cuntehoare.'" See Wright's 
Volume of Vocabularies, p. 17. 


in Brand's Popular Antiquities^ the feeking of plants for their 
hidden virtues and magical properties is efpecially noted as part 
of the praftices on the eve of St. John [herba diverft generis 
quaruntur) ; and one plant is efpecially fpecified in terms too 
myfterious to be eafily underftood/ Fern-feed, alfo, was a 
great object of fearch on this night ; for, if found and properly 
gathered, it was believed to pofTefs powerful magical proper- 
ties, and efpecially that of rendering invifible the individual who 
carried it upon his perfon. But the moft remarkable of all the 
plants connected with thefe ancient priapic fuperftitions was the 
mandrake [mandragora)^ a plant which has been looked upon with 
a fort of feeling of reverential fear at all periods, and almoft in all 
parts. Its Teutonic name, alrun^ or, in its more modern form, 
alraun, fpeaks at once of the belief in its magical qualities among 
that race. People looked upon it as pofleffing fome degree of 
animal life, and it was generally believed that, when it was drawn 
out of the earth, it uttered a cry, and that this cry carried certain 
death or madnefs to the perfon who extracted it. To efcape this 
danger, the remedy was to tie a ftring round it, which was to be 
attached to a dog, and the latter, being driven away, dragged up 
the root in its attempt to run off, and experienced the fatal confe- 
quences. The root was the important part of the plant ; it has 
fomewhat the form of a forked radifh, and was believed to repre- 
fent exadlly the human form below the waift, with, in the male 
and female plants, the human organs of generation diftindly devel- 
oped. The mandrake, when it could be obtained, was ufed in the 
middle ages in the place of the phallic amulet, and was carefully 
carried on the perfon, or preferved in the houfe. It conferred fer- 
tility in more fenfes than one, for it was believed that as long as 
you kept it locked up with your money, the latter would become 

' Carduus puellarum legitur et ab eifdem centum cruces. 


doubled in quantity every year; and it had at the fame time all the 
protedive qualities of the phallus. The Templars were accufed of 
worfhiping the mandrake, or mandragora, which became an obje6l of 
great celebrity in France during the reigns of the weak monarchs 
Charles VI. and Charles VII. In 1429 one Friar Richard, of the 
order of the Cordeliers, preached a fierce fermon againft the use of 
this amulet, the temporary efFed of which was fo great, that a cer- 
tain number of his congregation delivered up their " mandra- 
goires" to the preacher to be burnt.^ 

It appears that the people who dealt in thefe amulets helped 
nature to a rather confiderable extent by the means of art, and 
that there was a regular procefs of cooking them up. They were 
necefTarily aware that the roots themfelves, in their natural ftate, 
prefented, to fay the leaft, very imperfeftly the form which men's 
imagination had given to them, fo they obtained the fineft roots 
they could, which, when frefh from the ground, were plump and 
foft, and readily took any impreffion which might be given to 
them. They then ftuck grains of millet or barley into the parts 
where they wifhed to have hair, and again put it into a hole in the 
earth, until thefe grains had germinated and formed their roots. 
This procefs, it was faid, was perfected within twenty days. They 
then took up the mandrake again, trimmed the fibrous roots of 
millet or barley which ferved for hair, retouched the parts them- 
felves fo as to give them their form more perfe(!^ly and more per- 
manently, and then fold it.^ 

Befides thefe great and general priapic feftivals, there were 
doubtlefs others oflefs importance, or more local in their character, 
which degenerated in aftertimes into mere local ceremonies and 

1 Journal a' un Bourgeois de Paris, under the year 1429. 

2 See the authorities tor thefe llatements in Dulaure, pp. 254 — 256. 


feftivities. This would be the cafe efpecially in cities and corpo- 
rate towns, where the guilds came in, to perpetuate the inftitution, 
and to give it gradually a modified form. Moft towns in England 
had once feftivals of this charadler, and at leaft three reprefentatives of 
them are ftill kept up, the proceflion of Lady Godiva at Coventry, 
the Shrewfbury ihow, and the guild feftival at Prefton in Lanca- 
fhire. In the firft of thefe, the lady who is fuppofed to ride naked 
in the proceflion probably reprefents fome feature in the ancient 
priapic celebration; and the ftory of the manner in which the Lady 
Godiva averted the anger of her hufband from the townfmen,which 
is certainly a mere fable, was no doubt invented to explain a fea- 
ture of the celebration, the real meaning of which had in courfe of 
time been forgotten. The pageantry of the Shrewfbury fhow 
appears to be fimilarly the unmeaning refledion of forms belong- 
ing to older and forgotten practices and principles. On the Conti- 
nent there were many fuch local feftivals, fuch as the feaft of fools, 
the feaft of afles (the afs was an animal facred to Priapus), and 
others, all which were adapted by the mediasval church exadly as 
the clergy had taken advantage of the profit to be derived from the 
phallic worftiip in other forms. 

Theleaden tokens, or medalets, which we have already defcribed,^ 
feem to point evidently to the exiftence in the mi"ddle ages of 
fecret focieties or clubs connected with this obfcene worftiip, be- 
fides the public feftivals. Of thefe it can hardly be expeded 
that any defcription would furvive, but, if not the fad:, the 
belief in it is clearly eftabliftied by the eagernefs with which fuch 
obfcene rites were laid to the charge of moft of the mediaeval fecret 
focieties, whether lay clubs or religious fefts, and we know that 
fecret focieties abounded in the middle ages. However willing the 
Romifti clergy were to make profit out of the popular phallic wor- 

1 See before, p. 146, and Plate xxxiii. 


fhip, they were equally ready to ufe the belief in it as a means of 
exciting prejudice againft any feds which the church chofe to 
regard as religious or political heretics. 

It is very evident that, in the earlier ages of the church, the 
converfion of the Pagans to Chriftianity was in a vaft number of 
cafes lefs than a half-converfion, and that the preachers of the 
gofpel were fatisfied by people affuming the name of Chriftians, 
without inquiring too clofely into the fincerity of their change, or 
into their pradlice. We can trace in the exprelfions of difapproval 
in the writings of fome of the more zealous of the ecclefiaftical 
writers, and in the canons of the earlier councils, the alarm created 
by the prevalence among Chriftians of the old popular feftivals of 
paganifm ; and the revival of thofe particular canons and depreca- 
tory remarks in the ecclefiaftical councils and writings of a later 
period of the middle ages ftiows that the exiftence of the evil had 
continued unabated. There was an African council in the year 
381, from which Burchardus, who compiled his condenfation of 
ecclefiaftical decrees for the ufe of his own time, profeftes to derive 
his provifions againft " the feftivals which were held with Pagan 
ceremonies." We are there told that, even on the moft facred 
of the Chriftian commemoration days, thefe rites derived from the 
Pagans were introduced, and that dancing was pradifed in the open 
ftreets of fo infamous a character, and accompanied with fuch 
lafcivious language and geftures, that the modefty of refpedable 
females was ftiocked to a degree that prevented their attendance 
at the fervice in the churches on thofe days.^ It is added that 

^ Illud etiam petendum, ut quoniam contra praecepta divina convivia multis in 
locis exercentur, quae ab errore gentili attrafta funt, ita ut nunc a paganis ad hsc 
celebranda cogantur, ex qua re temporibus Chrillianorum imperatorum perfecutio 
altera fieri occulta videatur, vetari talia jubeant, et de civitatibus et poUeflionibus 
impofita poena prohiberi, maxime cum etiam in natalibus beatiffimorum martyrum 
per nonnullas civitates et in ipfis locis facris talia committere non retbrmident, quibus 


thefe Pagan ceremonies were even carried into the churches, and 
that many of the clergy took part in them. 

It is probable, too, that when Paganifm itfelf had become an 
offence againft the ftate, and thofe who continued attached to it 
were expofed to perfecution, they embraced the name of Chriftians 
as a cover for the groffeft fuperftitions, and formed fefts who prac- 
tifed the rites of Paganifm in their fecret conventicles, but were 
placed by the church among the Chriftian hereiies. In fome of 
thefe, efpecially among thofe of an early date, the obfcene rites and 
principles of the phallic worfhip feem to have entered largely, for, 
though their opponents probably exaggerated the adlual vice car- 
ried on under their name, yet much of it muft have had an exift- 
ence in truth. It was a mixture of the licence of the vulgar 
Paganifm of antiquity with the wild dodrines of the latter eaftern 
philofophers. The older orthodox writers dwell on the details of 
thefe libidinous rites. Among the earlieft in date were the Adam- 
iani, or Adamites, who profcribed marriage, and held that the moft 
perfeft innocence was confiftent only with the community of women. 
They chofe latibula^ or caverns, for their conventicles, at which both 
fexes affembled together in perfect nakednefs.^ This fed; perhaps 
continued to exift under different forms, but it was revived among 
the intellectual vagaries of the fifteenth century, and continued at 
leaft to be much talked of till the feventeenth. The dodrine of 
the community of women, and the pradice of promifcuous fexual 
intercourfe in their meetings, were afcribed by the early Chriftian 

diebus etiam, quod pudoris eft dicere, faltationes fceleratiffimas per vicos atque plateas 
exerceant, ut matronalis honor, et innumerabilium foeminarum pudor, devote veni- 
entium ad facratiflimum diem, injuriis lafcivientium appetatur, ut etiam ipfius fandl^ 
religionis paene fugiatur acceffus. Burchard. Decret., lib. x, c. 20, De conviviis 
qua fiunt ritu paganorum, ex Concil. Africano, cap. 27. See Labbsi, CoticiL, 
torn, ii, col. 1085. 

* Epiphanii Epifc. Conftant. Panarium verfus Hceres., vol. i, p. 459, ed Petav, 


controverfialifts to feveral Teds, fuch as the followers of Florian,and 
of Carpocratian, who were accufed of putting out the lamps in their 
churches at the end of the evening fervice, and indulging in fexual 
intercourfe indifcriminately ;^ the Nicolaitae, who held their wives 
in common ; the Ebionei ; and efpecially the Gnoftics, or followers 
of Bafilides, and the Manichaeans. The Nicolaites held that the 
only way to falvation lay through frequent intercourfe between the 
fexes.^ Epiphanius fpeaks of a fed who facrificed a child in their 
fecret rites by pricking it with brazen pins, and then offering its 
blood.^ The Gnoftics were accufed of eating human flefh as well 
as of lafcivioufnefs, and they alfo are faid to have held their women 
in common, and taught that it was a duty to proftitute their 
wives to their guefts."* They knew their fellow fedarians by a 
fecret fign, which confifted in tickling the palm of the hand with 
the finger in a peculiar manner. The fign having been recog- 
nized, mutual confidence was eftablifhed, and the ftranger was 
invited to fupper ; after they had eaten their fill, the huiLand 
removed from the fide of his wife, and faid to her, " Go, exhibit 
charity to our gueft," which was the fignal for thofe further fcenes 
of hofpitality.^ This account is given us by St. Epiphanius, 
bifhop of Conftantia. We are told further of rites pradiced by 
the Gnoftics, which were ftill more difgufting, for they were faid, 
after thefe libidinous fcenes, to ofter and adminifter \.\i^Jemen virile 

• In ecclefia fua poll occafum Iblis lucernis extinftis mifceri cum mulierculis. 
Philaftri de Harejibus Liber, c. 57. 

'■^ Epiphanii Panariurn, vol. i, p. 72. 

3 Epiphanius, vol. i, p. 416. 

■» On the fecret worfhip and charafter of the Gnollics, fee Epiphanii Pa/iarium, 
vol, i, pp. 84 — 102. 

^ e/c rovrov Se avfj.7roaidaavT€<;, Kal aJ? eVo? eliretv, Ta<i (pXe^wi rov Kopov 
ifi7r\)}aavT€^ eavTcov, et? olarpov rpiirovTaL. kol o /xev ai>j]p r/'}'? yvifaLKO<; 
inroycoprjcra^ (f)dcrK€i Xeycou rrj kavrov 'yvvaiKt on dvciara keywu, Troiijaov 
rr}V ajaTnjv fiera rov a8e\<f>ov- 01 hk raXave^ fii'y€PTe<; a\Xj]\oi<i. Epiphan. 
Panariurn, vol. i, p. 86. 


as their facrament.^ A fimilar pradice is defcribed as exifting 
among women in the middle ages for the purpofe of fecuring the 
love of their hufbands, and was perhaps derived from the Gnoftics 
and Manichaeans, whofe dodrines, brought from the Eaft, appear 
to have fpread themfelves extenfively into Weftern Europe.^ 

Of thefe dodrines, however, we have no traces at leaft until 
the eleventh century, when a great intelledual agitation began in 
Weftern Europe, which brought to the surface of fociety a multi- 
tude of ftrange creeds and ftrange theories. The popular worftiip 
difplayed in the great annual feftivals, and the equally popular 
local fetes, urban or rural, were hardly interfered with, or any 
fecret focieties belonging to the old worfhip ; the mediaeval church 
did not confider them as herefies, and let them alone. Thus, 
except now and then a provifion of fome ecclefiaftical council 
exprefled in general terms againft fuperftitions, which was hardly 
heard at the time and not liftened to, they are paffed over in filence. 
But the moment anything under the name of herefy raifed its head, 
the alarm was great. Gnofticifm and Manichaeifm, which had 
indeed been identical, were the herefies moft hated in the Eaftern 
empire, and, as may be fuppofed, moft perfecuted ; and this perfe- 
cution was deftined to drive them weftward. In the feventh cen- 

1 See details on this fubjeft in Epiphanii Panarium, ib. Conf. Praedeftinati 
Adverfus Hceres., lib. i, c. 46, where the fame thing is laid of the Manichaeans. 

2 Guftafti de femine viri tui, ut, propter tua diabolica fafta, plus in amorem 
tuum exardefceret ? Si fecilli, feptem annos per legitimas ferias poenitere debes. 
Burchardi Decretorum lib. xix. The fame praftices appear to have exifted among 
the Anglo-Saxons. Thus, one of the cafes in Theodori Liher Peenitentialis, (in 
Thorpe's Ancie?it Lazvs a?id Inftitutes,') is, — Mulier qure femen viri fui in cibum 
miferit, ut inde amoris ejus plus accipiat, vii. annos poeniteat. Theod. Lih. Pcen. 
xvi. 30. And again, Mulier quae femen viri cum cibo fuo mifcuerit, et id fumpferit, 
ut mafculo carior fit, iii. annos jejunet. Ecgberti Cojifejftonale, fee. 29. Sprenger, 
Malleus Maleficarum, quaell. vii, tells us of witches who made men eat hien autre 
cbofe to fecure their love. 


tiiry they became modified into a fed: which took the name of 
Paulicians, it is faid, from an Armenian enthufiaft named Paulus, 
and they feem to have ftill further provoked the hatred of the 
church by making themfelves, in their own interefts, the advocates 
of freedom of thought and of ecclefiaftical reform. If hiftory be to 
be believed, their Chriftian feelings cannot have been very ftrong, 
for, unable to refift perfecution within the empire, they retired 
into the territory held by the Saracens, and united with the enemies 
ot the Crofs in making war upon the Chriftian Greeks. Others 
fought refuge in the country of the Bulgarians, who had very 
generally embraced their do6lrines, which foon fpread thence weft- 
ward. In their progrefs through Germany to France they were 
known beft as Bulgarians, from the name of the country whence 
they came ; in their way through Italy they retained their name of 
Paulicians, corrupted in the Latin of that period of the middle ages 
into Populicani, Poplicani, Publicaniy &c ; and, in French, into 
Popelican^ Poblican^ Policien, and various other forms which it is 
unneceftary to enumerate. They began to caufe alarm in France 
at the beginning of the eleventh century, in the reign of king 
Robert, when, under the name of Popelicans, they had eftab- 
liftied themfelves in the diocefe of Orleans, in which city a council 
was held againft them in 1022, and thirteen individuals were 
condemned to be burnt. The name appears to have lafted into 
the thirteenth century, but the name of Bulgarians became 
more permanent, and, in its French form of Bolgres, Bougres, or 
BogreSy became the popular name for heretics in general. With 
thefe herefies, through the more fenfual parts of Gnofticifm and 
Manichaeifm, there appears to be left hardly room for doubt that 
the ancient phallic worftiip, probably fomewhat modified, and under 
the ftiadow of fecret rites, was imported into Weftern Europe ; for, 
if we make allowance for the willing exaggerations of religious 
hatred, and confequent popular prejudice, the general convidion 


that thefe fedarians had rites and practices of a licentious charadler 
appears too ftrong to be entirely difregarded, nor does it prefent 
anything contrary to what we know of the ftate of mediasval 
fociety, or to the fafts which have already been brought forward 
in the prefent eflay. Thefe early fed:s appear to have profefled 
do6lrines rather clofely refembling modern communifm, including, 
like thofe of their earlier feftarian predeceffors, the community of 
women ; and this community naturally implies the abolition of 
diftindtive affinities. One of the writers againft the mediaeval 
heretics aflures us that there were "many profeffed Chriftians, both 
men and women, who feared no more to go to their fifter, or fon 
or daughter, or brother, or nephew or niece, or kin or relation, 
than to their own wife or hufband."^ They were accufed, beyond 
this, of indulging in unnatural vices, and this charge was fo 
generally believed, that the name of Bulgarus, or heretic, became 
equivalent with Sodomite, and hence came the modern French 
word bougre, and its Englifh reprefentatives. 

In the courfe of the eleventh century the feftarians appeared in 
Italy under the name of Patarini, Paterini, or Patrini, which is faid 
to have been taken from an old quarter of the city of Milan named 
Pataria, in which they firft held their aflemblies. A contemporary 
Englifhman, Walter Mapes, gives us a fingular account of the 
Paterini and their fecret rites. Some apoftates from this herefy, 
he tells us, had related that, at the firft watch of night, they 
met in their fynagogues, clofed carefully the doors and windows, 
and waited in filence, until a black cat of extraordinary bignefs 
defcended among them by a rope, and that, as foon as they faw 

1 Et haec eft caufa quare multi credentes, tarn viri quam mulieres, non timent 
magis ad fororem fuam, et filium five filiam, fratrem, neptem, confanguineam, et 
cognatam accedere, quam ad uxorem et virum proprium. Reinerus, Contra 
Waldenfes, in Gretferus, Scriptores contra Se^am Waldenjium, Gretferi Opera, 
torn, xii, p. 33. 


this ftrange animal, they put out the lights, and muttering through 
their teeth inftead of Tinging their hymns, felt their way to this 
objed of their worfhip, and kiffed it, according to their feelings of 
humility or pride, fome on the feet, fome under the tail, and others 
on the genitals, after which each feized upon the neareft perfon of a 
different fex, and had carnal intercourfe as long as he was able. 
Their leaders taught them that the moft perfed degree of charity was 
"to do or fuffer in this manner whatever a brother or fifter might 
defire and afk," and hence, fays Mapes, they were called Paterini, 
a-patiendo} Other writers have fuggefted a different derivation, 
but the one firft given appears to be that moft generally accepted. 
The different feds or congregations in Italy and the fouth, indeed, 
appear generally to have taken their names from the towns in 
which they had their feats or head-quarters. Thus, thofe who 
were feated at Bagnols, in the department of the Gard, in the 
fouth of France, were called by the Latin writers Bagnolenfes; the 
fame writers give the name of Concordenfes, or Concorezenfes, 
to the heretics of Concordia in Lombardy ; and the city of Albi, 
now the capital of the department of the Tarn, gave its name 
to the fed of the Albigenfes, or Albigeois, the moft extenfive 

1 Refipuerunt autem multi, reverfique ad fidem enarrant quod circa primam 
nodlis vigiliam, claufis eorum januis, hofliis, et feneftris, expeflantes in fingulis 
finagogis fuis fingulas fedeant in filentio familiae, defcenditque per funem appenfiim 
in medio mirae magnitudinis murelegus niger, quern cum viderint, luminibus extinftis, 
hymnos non decantant, non diftin(5le dicunt, fed ruminant affertis dentibus, acce- 
duntque ubi dominum fuum viderint palpantes, inventumque deofculantur quifque 
fecundum quod ampliore fervet infania humilius, quidam pedes, plurimi Tub cauda, 
plerique pudenda, et quafi a loco foetoris accepts liccntia pruriginis, quifque fibi 
proximum aut proximam arripit, commifcenturque quantum quiique ludibrium 
extendere prsevalet. Dicunt etiam magiftri docentque novitios caritatem efTe per- 
fedlam agere vel pati quod defideraverit et petierit frater aut foror, extinguere fcilicet 
invicem ardcntes, et a patiendo Paterini dicuntur. Mapes, De Nugis Curialium, 
p. 61. 

A A 


of them all, which fpread over the whole of the fouth of France. A 
rich enthufiaft of the city of Lyons, named Waldo, who had collected 
his wealth by mercantile purfuits, and who lived in the twelfth cen- 
tury, fold his property and diftributed it among the poor, and he 
became the head of a fed: which profefled poverty as one of its 
tenets, and received from the name of its founder that ofWaldenfes 
or Vaudois. From their profeffion of voluntary poverty they are 
fometimes fpoken of by the name of Pauperes de Lugduno, the 
paupers of Lyons. Contemporaries fpeak of the Waldenfes as 
being generally poor ignorant people ; yet they fpread widely 
over that part of France and into the valleys of Switzerland, and 
became fo celebrated, that at laft nearly all the mediaeval heretics 
were ufually clafled under the head of Waldenfes. Ano^^her fed, 
ufually clafTed with the Waldenfes, were called Cathari. 1 he Nova- 
tians, a fedl which fprang up in the church in the third century, 
afTumed alfo the name of Cathari, as laying claim to extraordinary 
purity (/ca^apot), but there is no reafon for believing that the ancient 
{t&. was revived in the Cathari of the later period, or even that 
the two words are identical. The name of the latter fed: is 
often fpelt Gazari, Gazeri, Ga?ari, and Chazari ; and, as they were 
more efpecially a German fed, it is fupposed to have been the 
origin of the German words Ketzer and Ketzerie^ which became 
the common German terms for a heretic and herefy. It was 
fuggefted by Henfchenius that this name was derived from the 
German Katze or Ketze^ a cat, in allufion to the common report 
that they afTembled at night like cats, or ghofts ;^ or the 
cat may have been an allufion to the belief that in their fecret 
meetings they worfhipped that animal. This fed muft have been 
very ignorant and fuperftitious if it be true which fome old writers 

^ Propter nofturnas coitiones, a voce Germanica caters, id eft, feles feu lemures. 
See Ducange, fub v. Cathari. 


tell us, that they believed that the fun was a demon, and the moon 
a female called Heva, and that thefe two had fexual intercourfe 
every month. ^ Like the other heretical feds, thefe Cathari were 
accufed of indulging in unnatural vices, and the German words 
Ketzerie and Kelzer were eventually ufed to fignify fodomy and a 
fodomite, as well as herefy and a heretic. 

The Waldenfes generally, taking all the feds which people clafs 
under this name, including alfo the older Bulgari and Publicani, 
were charged with holding fecret meetings, at which the devil 
appeared to them in the fhape, according to fome, of a goat, whom 
they worfhipped by offering the kifs in am, after which they 
indulged in promifcuous fexual intercourfe. Some believed that 
they were conveyed to thefe meetings by unearthly means. The 
Englifh chronicler Ralph de Coggefhall, tells a ftrange ftory of 
the means of locomotion poffeffed by thefe heretics. In the city 
of Rheims, in France, in the time of St. Louis, a handfome young 
woman was charged with herefy, and carried before the archbifhop, 
in whofeprefence fhe avowed her opinions, and confeffed that fhehad 
received them from a certain old woman of that city. The old 
woman was then arrefted, convided of being an obftinate heretic, 
and condemned to the ftake. When they were preparing to carry 
her out to the fire, fhe fuddenly turned to the judges and faid, " Do 
you think that you are able to burn me in your fire ? I care neither 
for it nor for you ! " And taking a ball of thread, fhe threw it out 
at a large window by which fhe was flanding, holding the end of 
the thread in her hands, and exclaiming, " Take it ! " [recipe). In 
an inflant, in the fight of all who were there, the old woman was 
lifted from the ground, and, following the ball of thread, was car- 
ried into the air nobody knew where ; and the archbifhop's officers 

1 Bonacurfus, ^^ita Ha^reticornm, in D'Achery, Spicikgium, torn, i, p. 209. This 
book is confidered to have been written about the year 1190. 


burnt the young woman in her place.^ It was the belief of moft of 
the old feds of this clafs, as well as of the more ancient Pagans 
from whom they were derived, that thofe who were fully initiated 
into their moft fecret myfteries became endowed with powers and 
faculties above thofe pofTefled by ordinary individuals. A lift of 
the errors of the Waldenfes, printed in the Reliquia Antiqude^ from 
an Englifti manufcript, enumerates among them that they met 
to indulge in promifcuous fexual intercourfe, and held perverfe 
doctrines in accordance with it; that, in fome parts, the devil 
appeared to them in the form of a cat, and that each kifled him 
under the tail ; and that in other parts they rode to the place of 
meeting upon a ftaff" anointed with a certain unguent, and were 
conveyed thither in a moment of time. The writer adds that, 
in the parts where he lived, thefe pradices had not been known 
to exift for a long time.^ 

Our old chroniclers exult over the fmall fuccefs which attended 
the eftbrts of thefe heretics from France and the South to introduce 
themfelves into our ifland.^ Thefe fed:s, with fecret and obfcene 

1 Radulphus Cogefhalenfis, in the AmpliJJima ColleBio of Martene and Durand. 
On the offences with which the different fedls comprifed under the name of Wal- 
denfes were charged, fee Gretfer's Scrip tores contra Se£lam Waldenjium, which will 
be found in the twelfth volume of his works, Bonacurfus, Vita Hareticorum, in the 
firft volume of D'Achery's Spicilegium, and the work of a Carthufian monk in 
Martene and Durand, AmpliJJima Colle£lio, vol. vi, col. 57 et feq. 

2 Wright and Halliwell, Reliquiae Antique, vol. i, p. 247. 

Item, habent inter fe mixtum abominabile, et perverfa dogmata ad hoc apta, fed 

non reperitur quod abutantur in partibus itlis a multis temporibus. 
Item, in aliquibus aliis partibus apparet eis daemon fub fpecie et figura cati, quem 

fub Cauda figillatim ofculantur. 
Item, in aliis partibus fuper unum baculum certo unguento perunftum equitant, 

et ad loca affignata ubi voluerint congregantur in momento dum volunt. Sed 

ifta in iilis partibus non inveniuntur. 

3 See, for example, Guil. Neubrigenfis, De Rebus Anglicis, lib. ii, c. 13, and 
Walter Mapes, de Nugis Curialium, p. 62. 


rites, appear, indeed, to have found moll favour among the peoples 
who fpoke a dialed derived from the Latin, and this we might 
naturally be led to expeft, for the fadl of the prefervation of the 
Latin tongue is itfelf a proof of the greater force of the Roman 
element in the foclety, that from which thefe fecret rites appear to 
have been chiefly derived. It is a curious circumftance, in connec- 
tion with this fubjed, that the popular oaths and exclamations 
among the people fpeaking the languages derived from the Romans 
are almoft all compofed of the names of the objeds of this phallic 
worfliip, an entire contraft to the praftice of the Teutonic tribes — 
the vulgar oaths of the people fpeaking Neo-Latin dialeds are 
obfcene, thofe of the Germanic race are profane. We have feen 
how the women of Antwerp, who, though perhaps they did not 
fpeak the Roman dialed, appear to have been much influenced by 
Roman fentiments, made their appeal to their genius Ters. When 
a Spaniard is irritated or fuddenly excited, he exclaims, Carajo ! 
(the virile member) or Cojones! (the tefliicles). An Italian, under 
fimihir circumfl:ances, ufes the exclamation Cazzo ! (the virile 
member). The Frenchman apofl:rophizes the ad, Foutre I The 
female member, cono with the Spaniard, conno with the Italian, and 
con with the Frenchman, was and is ufed more generally as an ex- 
preflion of contempt, which is alfo the cafe with the tefl:icles, couil- 
lons, in French — thofe who have had experience in the old days of 
"diligence" travelling will remember how ufual it was for the 
driver, when the horfes would not go quick enough, to addrefs the 
leader in fuch terms as, " Z^^, donc^ vieux con! " We have no luch 
words ufed in this manner in the Germanic languages, with the 
exception, perhaps, of the German Potz ! and Potztaufend! and 
the Knglifli equivalent. Pox ! which lafl: is gone quite out of ufe. 
There was an attempt among the fafliionables of our Flizabethan 
age of literature, to introduce the Italian cazzo under the form of 
catfo, and the French /^w/rt- under that o^ foutra, but thefe were 


mere affedatPons of a moment, and were fo little in accord with 
our national fentiments that they foon difappeared. 

The earl ieft accounts of a fee!!: which held fecret meetings for 
celebrating obfcene rites is found in France. It appears that, early 
in the eleventh century, there was in the city of Orleans a fociety 
confifting of members of both fexes, who afTembled at certain 
times in a houfe there, for the purpofes which are defcribed rather 
fully in a document found in the cartulary of the abbey of St. 
Pere at Chartres. As there ftated, they went to the meeting, 
each carrying in the hand a lighted lamp, and they began by 
chaunting the names of demons in the manner of a litany, until a 
demon fuddenly defcended among them in the form of an animal. 
This was no fooner feen, than they all extinguifhed their lamps, 
and each man took the firft female he put his hand upon, and had 
fexual intercourfe with her, without regard if fhe were his mother, 
or his fifler, or a confecrated nun ; and this intercourfe, we are 
told, was looked upon by them as an aft of holinefs and religion. 
The child which was the fruit of this intercourfe was taken on the 
eighth day and purified by fire, "in the manner of the ancient 
Pagans," — fo fays the contemporary writer of this document, — it 
was burnt to afhes in a large fire made for that purpofe. The 
afhes were collected with great reverence, and preferved, to be 
adminiftered to members of the fociety who were dying, juft as 
good Chriftians received the viaticum. It is added that there was 
fuch a virtue in thefe afhes, that an individual who had once tafted 
them would hardly ever after be able to turn his mind from that 
herefy and take the path of truth.^ 

1 Congregabantur fiquidem certis no6libus in domo denominata, finguli lucernas 
tenentes in manibus, et, ad inftar letaniae, daemonum nomina declamabant, donee 
fubito daemonem in fimilitudine cujuflibet beftiolae inter eos viderent defcendere. 
Qui, ftatim ut vifibilis ilia videbatur vifio, omnibus extinftis luminaribus, quam- 
primum quifque poterat, mulierem quae ad manum libi veniebat ad abutendum arri- 


Whatever degree of truth there may have been in this ftory, it 
muft have been greatly exaggerated; but the conviftion of the 
exiftence of fecret focieties of this charader during the middle ages 
appears to have been fo ftrong and so generally held, that we 
muft hefitate in rejecting it. Perhaps we may take the leaden 
tokens already defcribed, and reprefented in one of our plates,' as 
evidence of the exiftence of fuch focieties, for thefe curious objeds 
appear to admit of no other fatisfadlory explanation than that of 
having been in ufe in fecret clubs of a very impure charader. 

It has been already remarked that people foon feized upon accu- 
fations of this kind as excufes for perfecution, religious and poli- 
tical, and we meet with a curious example in the earlier half of the 
thirteenth century. The diftrid of Steding, in the north of Ger- 
many, now known as Oldenburg, was at the beginning of the 
thirteenth century inhabited by a people who lived in fturdy inde- 
pendence, but the archbiftiops of Bremen feem to have claimed 
feme fort of feudal fuperiority over them, which they refifted by 
force. The archbiftiop, in revenge, declared them heretics, and 
proclaimed a crufade againft them. Crufades againft heretics were 
then in faftiion, for it was juft at the time of the great war againft 
the Albigeois. The Stedingers maintained their independence fuc- 
cefsfuUy for fome years. In 1232 and 1233, the pope iffued two 

piebat, fine peccati refpeftu et utrum mater aut foror aut monacha haberetur, pro 
fanftitate ac religione ejus concubitus ab illis sftimabatur. Ex quo fpurciffimo concu- 
bitu infans generatus oftava die in medio eorum copiofo ignc accenfo piabatur per 
ignem, more antiquorum paganorum, et fic in igne cremabatur. Cujus cinis tanta 
veneratione colligebatur atque cuftodiebatur, ut Chriftiana religiofitas corpus Chrilli 
cuftodiri folet, aegris dandum de hoc feculo exituris ad viaticum. Incrat enim tanta 
visdiabolicas fraudis in ipfo cinere, ut quicumquede prajfatahicrefi imbutus fuiflet, ct 
de eodem cinere quamvis sumendo parum praclibavifTet, vixunquam poilea de eadem 
hasrefi grefTum mentis ad viam veritatis dirigere valeret. Guerard, Cartulaire de 
I Abbaye de Saint-Pere de Chartres, vol. i, p. 112. 
1 See before, p. 146, and Plate xxxiii. 


bulls againft the offending Stedingers, in both of which he charges 
them with various heathen and magical practices, but in the fecond 
he enters more fully into details. Thefe Stedingers, the pope 
(Gregory IX.) tells us, performed the following ceremonies at the 
initiation of a new convert into their fed. When the novice was 
introduced, a toad prefented itfelf, which all who were prefent kiffed, 
fome on the pofteriors, and others on the mouth, when they drew its 
tongue and fpittle into their own mouths. Sometimes this toad 
appeared of only the natural fize, but fometimes it was as big as a 
goofe or duck, and often its fize was that of an oven. As the novice 
proceeded, he encountered a man who was extraordinarily pale, with 
large black eyes, and whofe body was fo wafted that his flefli feemed 
to be all gone, leaving nothing but the fkin hanging on his bones. 
The novice kiffed this perfonage, and found him as cold as ice ; 
and after this kifs all traces of the Catholic faith vaniftied from his 
heart. Then they all fat down to a banquet; and when this was 
over, there ftepped out of a ftatue, which ftood in their place of 
meeting, a black cat, as large as a moderate fized dog, which 
advanced backwards to them, with its tail turned up. The novice 
firft, then the mafter, and then all the others in their turns, kiffed 
the cat under the tail, and then returned to their places, where 
they remained in filence, with their heads inclined towards the cat. 
Then the mafter fuddenly pronounced the words "Spare us ! " which 
he addreffed to the next in order ; and the third answered, " We 
know it, lord ; " and a fourth added, " We ought to obey." At 
the clofe of this ceremony the lights were extinguiftied, and each 
man took the firft woman who came to hand, and had carnal inter- 
courfe with her. When this was over, the candles were again 
lighted, and the performers refumed their places. Then out of a 
dark corner of the room came a man, the upper part of whom, 
above the loins, was bright and radiant as the fun, and illuminated 
the whole room, while his lower parts were rough and hairy like a 


cat. The mafter then tore off a bit of the garment of the novice, 
and faid to the (hining perfonage, " Mafter, this is given to me, 
and I give it again to thee." The mafter replied, " Thou haft 
ferved me well, and thou wilt ferve me more and better; what 
thou haft given me I give unto thy keeping." When he had faid 
this, the ftiining man vaniftied, and the meeting broke up. Such 
were the fecret ceremonies of the Stedingers, according to the deli- 
berate ftatement of pope Gregory IX, who alfo charges them with 
offering dired worftiip to Lucifer.^ 

But the moft remarkable, and at the fame time the moft cele- 
brated, affair in which thefe accufations of fecret and obfcene cere- 
monies were brought to bear, was that of the trial and diffolution of 
the order of the knights templars. The charges againft the 
knights templars were not heard of for the firft time at the period 
of their diffolution, but for many years it had been whifpered abroad 
that they had fecret opinions and pradices of an objedionable 
character. At length the wealth of the order, which was very 
great in France, excited the cupidity of king Philippe IV, and it 
was refolved to proceed againft them, and defpoil them of their 
poffeffions. The grounds for thefe proceedings were furniftied by 
two templars, one a Gafcon, the other an Italian, who were evi- 
dently men of bad charafter, and who, having been imprifoned for 
fome offence or offences, made a confeffion of the fecret pradices 
of their order, and upon thefe confeflions certain articles of accu- 
fation were drawn up. Thefe appear to have been enlarged 
afterwards. In 1307, Jacques de Molay, the grand mafter of the 
order, was treacheroufly allured to Paris by the king, and there 
feized and thrown into prifon. Others, fimilarly committed to 
prifon in all parts of the kingdom, were examined individually on 

' Baror.ius, An/tales Ecclefiajlici, torn, xxi, p. 89, where the two bulls are printed, 
and where the details of the hillory of the Stedingers will be found, 

B B 


the charges urged againft them, and many confefTed, while others 
obftinately denied the whole. Amongft thefe charges were the 
following: i. That on the admiffion of a new member of the 
order, after having taken the oath of obedience, he was obliged to 
deny Chrift, and to fpit, and fometimes alfo to trample, upon the 
crofs ; 2. That they then received the kifs of the templar, who 
officiated as receiver, on the mouth, and afterwards were obliged to 
kifs him in ano, on the navel, and fometimes on the generative 
member ; 3. That, in defpite of the Saviour, they fometimes wor- 
{hipped a cat, which appeared amongft them in their fecret conclave; 
4. That they pradifed unnatural vice together; 5. That they 
had idols in their different provinces ; in the form of a head, having 
fometimes three faces, fometimes two, or only one, and fometimes 
a bare fkull, which they called their faviour, and believed its in- 
fluence to be exerted in making them rich, and in making flowers 
grow and the earth germinate ; and 6. That they always wore about 
their bodies a cord which had been rubbed againft the head, and 
which ferved for their protedlion.^ 

The ceremonies attending the reception into the order were fo 
univerfally acknowledged, and are defcribed in terms which have fo 
much the appearance of truthfulnefs, that we can hardly altogether 
diflDelieve in them. The denial was to be repeated thrice,no doubt in 
imitation of St. Peter. 1 1 appears to have been considered as a trial of 
the ftrength of the obedience they had just fworn to the order, and 
they all pleaded that they had obeyed with reludance, that they had 
denied with the mouth but not with the heart ; and that they had 
intentionally fpit befide the crofs and not upon it. In one inftance 
the crofs was of filver, but it was more commonly of brafs, and ftill 
more frequently of wood ; on one occafion the crofs painted in a 
miflal was ufed, and the crofs on the templar's mantle often ferved 

^ Proch des Templiers, edited by M. Michelet, vol. i, pp. 90-92. 


the purpofe. When one Nicholas de Compiegne protefted againft 
thefe two ads, all the templars who were prefent told him that he 
muft do them, for it was the ciiftom of the order.^ Baldwin de St. 
Juft at firft refufed, but the receptor warned him that if he perfifted 
in his refufal, it would be the worfe for him {aliler male accideret 
fibi), and then " he was fo much alarmed that his hair flood on end."* 
Jacques de Trecis faid that he did it under fear, becaufe his receptor 
flood by with a great naked fword in his hand.^ Another, Geoffrey 
de Thatan, having fimilarly refufed, his receptor told him that they 
were " points of the order," and that if he did not comply, " he 
fhould be put in fuch a place that he would never fee his own feet."* 
And another who refufed to utter the words of denial was thrown 
into prifon and kept there until vefpers, and when he faw that he 
was in peril of death, he yielded, and did whatever the receptor 
required of him, but he adds that he was fo troubled and frightened 
that he had forgotten whether he fpat on the crofs or not.'' Gui 
de la Roche, a prell^yter of the diocefe of Limoges, faid that he 
uttered the denial with great weeping." Another, when he denied 
Chrirt, "was all ftupified and troubled, and it feemed to him as if 
he were enchanted, not knowing what counfel to take, as they 
threatened him heavily if he did not do it."'' When Etienne de 

^ Proces des Temp Hers, ii, 418. 

2 Et tunc ipfe tellis fuit magis attonitus, et orripilavit, id eft eriguere pili fui. 
Proces, i, 242. 

3 Proces, i, 254. 

■* Subjunxit idem receptor quod ifta erant de pundlis ordinis .... fubjiciens 
diftum prsceptorem fibi dixifle quod, nifi prsdifta faceret, poneretur in tali loco quod 
nunquam videret pedes fuos. Proces, \, pp. 222, 223. See alfo, i, 321. 

5 Et tunc dirtus recipiens pofuit eum in quodam carcere, in quo ftetit ufque ad 
vefperas ; et cum vidiftet quod efTct in periculo mortis, petivit quod exiret, et faceret 
voluntatem ejus. Proces, ii, 284. 

6 Cum magno fletu. Proces, ii, 219. 

7 Et ipfe fuit totus ftupefaftus et turbatus, et videbatur fibi quafi quod eflet in- 


Dijon fimilarly refufed to deny his Saviour, the preceptor told him 
that he muft do it becaufe he had fworn to obey his orders, and 
then "he denied with his mouth," hefaid, "but not with his heart; 
and he did this with great grief," and he adds that when it was 
done, he was fo confcience-ftruck that " he wifhed he had been 
outfide at his liberty, even though it had been with the lofs of one 
of his arms."^ When Odo de Dompierre, with great relu6lance, 
at length fpat on the crofs, he faid that he did it with fuch bitter- 
nefs of heart that he would rather have had his two thighs broken.^ 
Michelet, in the account of the proceedings againft the templars in 
his " Hiftory of France," offers an ingenious explanation of thefe 
ceremonies of initiation which gives them a typical meaning. He 
imagines that they were borrowed from the figurative myfteries and 
rites of the early Church, and fuppofes that, in this fpirit, the can- 
didate for admiffion into the order was firft prefented as a finner 
and renegade, in which character, after the example of Peter, he 
was made to deny Chrift. This denial, he fuggefts, was a fort of 
pantomime in which the novice expreffed his reprobate ftate by 
fpitting on the crofs ; after which he was ftripped of his profane 
clothing, received, through the kifs of the order, into a higher ftate 
of faith, and clothed with the garb of its holinefs. If this were 
the cafe, the true meaning of the performance muft have been very 
foon forgotten. 

This was efpecially the cafe with the kifs. According to the 

cantatus, nefciens fibi ipfi confulere, cum comminarentur eidem graviter nifi hoc 
faceret. Proces, i, 291. 

^ Preceptor refpondit ei quod oportebat eum abnegare, quia juraverat obedire 
przeceptis fuis ; et teftis abnegavit ore, ficut dixit, et non corde ; et hoc fecit cum 
magno dolore, et voluiffet, ficut dixit, tunc fuiffe extra in libertate fua cum uno folo 
brachio, quia faciebat contra confcientiam fuam. Proces, i, 302. 

2 Adjiciens fe cum magna cordis amaritudine hoc fecifle, et quod tunc magis vo- 
luiffet habuiffe crura fra6la, quam facere praedi6la, et fuit per aliquod fpatium, ficut 
dixit, relu(5lans priufquam hoc faceret. Proces, i, 307. 


articles of accufation, one of the ceremonies of initation required 
the novice to kifs the receiver on the mouth, on the anus^ or the 
end of the fpine, on the navel, and on the virga virilis? The laft 
is not mentioned in the examinations, but the others are defcribed 
by fo many of the witnefles that we cannot doubt of their truth. 
From the depofitions of many of the templars examined, it would 
appear that the ufual order was to kifs the receptor firft in am, next 
on the navel, and then on the mouth.^ The firft of thefe was an 
ad which would, of courfe, be repulfive to moft people, and the 
pradice arofe gradually of only kifting the end of the fpine, or, as 
it was called in mediaeval Latin, in anca. Bertrand de Somorens, 
of the diocefe of Amiens, defcribing a reception at which more than 
one new member was admitted, fays that the receiver next told 
them that they muft kifs him in ano; but, inftead of kifling him 
there, they lifted up his clothes and kifled him on the fpine;^ The 
receptor, it appears, had the power of remitting this kifs when he 
judged there was a fufticient reafon. Etienne de Dijon, a prefbyter 
of the diocefe of Langres, faid that, when he was admitted into 
the order, the preceptor told him that he ought, " according to the 
obfervances of the order," to kifs his receiver in ano, but that in 
confideration of his being a preiliyter, he would fpare him and 
remit this kifs.* Pierre de Grumenil, alfo a prefbyter, when called 

1 Item, quod in receptione fratrum difti ordinis, vel circa, interdum recipiens et 
receptus aliquando fe deofculabantur in ore, in umbilico feu in ventre nudo, et in ano 
feu fpina dorfi .... aliquando in virga virili. Proces, i, 91. 

2 See the Proces, ii, 286, 362, 364. 

3 Deinde prjecepit eis quod ofcularentur eum in ano ; ipfi tamen non fuerunt eum 
inibi ofculati, fed, elevatis pannis, prasdiftum receptorem fuerunt ofculati in fpina 
dorfi nuda, et hoc fecerunt, quia dixit eis quod erat de pundlis ordinis. Proces, ii, 
60. Another faid, on another occafion, Pr^ecepit etiam diftus receptor eis, quod 
ofcularentur cum in ano et in umbilico, et ipfi ofculati fuerunt in anca et umbilico 
fuper carnem nudam. lb. ii, i 59. 

^ Item dixit quod, praediftis peradlis, diftus praeceptor dixit ei quod fecundum ob- 


upon to perform this adt, refufed, and was allowed to kifs his re- 
ceiver on the navel only/ A prefbyter named Ado de Dompierre 
was excufed for the fame reafon/ as well as many others. Another 
templar, named Pierre de Lanhiac, faid that, at his reception into 
the order, his receptor told him that he muft kifs him in ano^ 
becaufe that was one of the points of the order, but that, at the 
earneft fupplication of his uncle, who was prefent, and muft there- 
fore have been a knight of the order, he obtained a remilTion of 
this kifs.^ 

Another charge againft the templars was ftill more difgufting. 
It was faid that they profcribed all intercourfe with women, and 
one of the men examined ftated, which was alfo confefTed by others, 
that his receptor told him that, from that hour, he was never to 
enter a houfe in which a woman lay in labour, nor to take part as 
godfather at the baptifm of any child,* but he added that he had 
broken his oath, for he had affifted at the baptifm of feveral chil- 
dren while ftill in the order, which he had left about a year before 
the feizure of the templars, for the love of a woman of whom he 
had become enamoured. On the other hand, thofe who replied to 
the interrogatory of the king's officers in this procefs, were all but 
unanimous in the avowal that on entering the order they received 

fervantias ordinis eorum recepti debebant ofculari in ano receptores, quia tamen idem 
teftis erat prefbyter, parcebat ei et remittebat fibi diftum ofculum. Proces, i, 302. 

1 Deinde praecepit quod ofcularetur eum in ano, et cum ipfe teftis nollet hoc facere, 
praecepit quod ofcularetur eum faltem in umbilico fuper carnem nudam, et fuit eum 
ibi ofculatus. Proces, ii, 24. 

2 Proces, i, 307. 

3 Poft quas dixit eidem quod fecundum difta punfta debebat eum ofculari in ano, 
et praecepit quod ibi ofcularetur eum, fed, avunculo ipfius teftis flexis genibus inftante, 
remifit ei ofculum memoratum. Proces, ii, 2. 

^ Dixit etiam quod ab ilia hora in antea non intraret domum in qua aliqua mulier 
jaceret in puerperio, nee fufciperet aliquem nee teneret in facro fonte. Proces, i, 


the permiilion to commit fodomy amongft themfelves. Two or 
three profefled not to have underftood this injundion in a bad 
fenfe, hut to have fuppofed that it only meant that, when the 
brethren were fhort of beds, each was to be ready to lend half his 
bed to his fellow/ One of them, named Gillet de Encraye, faid 
that he at firft fuppofed it to be meant innocently, but that his re- 
ceptor immediately undeceived him, by repeating it in lefs covert 
terms, at which he was himfelf fo horrified that he wifhed himfelf 
far away from the chapel in which the ceremony took place.^ A 
great number of templars ftated that, after the kiffes of initiation, 
they were informed that if they felt moved by natural heat, they 
might call any one of the brethren to their relief,and that they ought 
to relieve their brethren when appealed to under the fame circum- 
ftances.^ This appears to have been the moft common form of 
the injunction. In one or two inftances the receiver is defcribed as 
adding that this was an ad of contempt towards the other fex, 
which may perhaps be confidered as fhowing that the ceremony 
was derived from fome of the myfteries of the ftrange feds which 
appeared in the earlier ages of Christianity. Jean de St. Loup, 
who held the office of mafter of the houfe of templars at Soifiac, 
faid that, on his reception into the order, he received the injundion 

1 Poft quae immediate prascepit idem frater P. ipfi tefti quod fi aliquis frater difti 
ordinis vellet jacere fecum, non deberet recufare. Ipfe tamen teftis, ut dixit, non 
intellexit quod hoc diceret ut jacentes infimul aliquod peccatum committeretur, fed, 
fi deficeret leflus alteri, quod reciperet eum in ledlo fuo honefto. Proces, i, 262. 
See again, i. 568. 

2 Sed diftus frater Johannes fubjunxit et declaravit quod carnaliter poterant com- 
mifceri, de quo ipfe teftis fuit multum turbatus, ut dixit, et multum dcfideravit, ut 
dixit, quod tunc eflet extra portam diftae capellse. Procl's, i, 250. 

3 Quo fafto, dixit fibi recipiens quod ^\ aliquis calor naturalis movcret eum ad libi- 
dinem excrccndam, faceret fccum jacere unum de fratribus fuis ct haberet rem cum 
eo, et permitteret hoc idem fimiliter fibi fieri ab aliis fratribus. Proces, ii, 284. 
Conf. pp. 287, 288. 


not to have intercourfe with women, but, if he could not perfevere 
in continence, he might have the fame intercourfe with men ;^ and 
others were told that it would " be better to fatisfy their luft among 
themfelves, whereby the order would efcape evil report,than if they 
went to women. "^ But although the almoft unanimity of the confef- 
fions leave hardly room for a doubt that fuchinjundions were given, 
yet on the other hand they are equally unanimous in denying that 
thefe injunctions were carried into praftice. Almoft every templar, 
as the queftions were put to him, after admitting that he was told 
that he might indulge in fuch vice with the other brethren, afterted 
that he had never done this,and that he had never been afked to do fo 
by any of them. Theobald de Taverniac, whofe name tells us that 
he came from the fouth, denied indignantly the exiftence of fuch a 
vice among their order, but in terms which themfelves told not 
very much in favour of the morality of the templars in other 
refpefts. He faid that, " as to the crime of fodomy," he believed 
the charge to be totally untrue, "becaufe they could have very 
handfome and elegant women when they liked, and that they did 
have them frequently when they were rich and powerful enough to 
afford it, and that on this account he and other brothers of the 
order were removed from their houfes, as he faid."^ We have 
an implied acknowledgment that the templars did not entirely 

1 Dixit etiam per juramentum fuum quod fuit fibi injunftum per eos quod non 
haberet rem cum mulieribus, fed, fi continere non poflet, commifceret fe carnaliter 
cum hominibus. Proces, 287. Conf. ii, 288, 294, etc. 

2 Poftea unus praediftorum fervientium dixit eis quod, fi haberent calorem et motus 
carnales, poterant ad invicem carnaliter commifceri, fi volebant, quia melius erat 
quod hoc facerent inter fe, ne ordo vituperaretur, quam ^\ accederent ad mulieres. 
Proces, i, 386. 

3 De crimine fodomitico, refpondit fe nihil fcire, nee credere contenta in ipfis arti- 
culis efle vera, quia poterant habere mulieres pulchras et bene comptas, et frequenter 
eas habebant, cum effent divites et potentes, et ex hoc ipfe et alii fratres ipiius 
ordinis amoti fuerant a fuis domibus, ut dixit. Proces, \, 326. 


negled: the other lex in a Itatement quoted by l)u Puy that, if a 
child were born from the intercourfe between a templar and a virgin, 
they roafted it, and made an unguent of its fat, with which they 
anointed their idol.^ Thofe who confefled to the exiftence of the 
vice were fo few, and their evidence fo indefinite or indired, 
that they are deferving of no confideration. One had heard 
that fome brethren beyond the fea had committed unnatural 
vices.^ Another, Hugh de Faure, had heard fay that two 
brothers of the order, dwelling in the Chateau Pelerin, had 
been charged with fodomy ; that, when this reached the ears of 
the mafter, he gave orders for their arreft, and that one had been 
killed in the attempt to efcape, while the other was taken and im- 
prifoned for life.^ Peter Brocart, a templar of Paris, declared that 
one of the order, one night, called him and committed fodomy 
with him ; adding that he had not refufed, becaufe he confidered 
himfelf bound to obedience by the rules of the order.* The evi- 
dence is decidedly ftrong againft the prevalence of fuch a vice 
among the templars, and the alleged permiflion was perhaps a mere 
form of words, which concealed fome occult meaning unknown to 
the mafs of the templars themfelves. We are not inclined to rejed: 
altogether the theory of the baron von Hammer-Ptirgftall, that 
the templars had adopted fome of the myfterious tenets of the 
eaftern Gnoftics. 

' Prseterea, fi ex templarii coitu infans ex puella virgine nafcebatur, hunc igni 
torrebant ; exque eliquata inde pinguedine fuum fimulachrum decoris gratia unge- 
bant. Robert Gaguin, ap. Du Puy, Hijhire de I'OrJre Militaire des Templiers, 
p. 24. 

2 Proces, ii, 213. 

•* Audivit dici quod duo fratres ordinis, commorantes in Callro Pcrcgrini, crant 
de crimine fodomitico difFamati ; et cum hoc perveniflet ad magiilrum, mandavit cos 
capi, et unus illorum fuit interfeftus cum fugeret, et alter f'uit perpetuo carceri man- 
cipatus. Proces, ii, 223. 

^ Proces, ii, 294. 



In regard to the fecret idolatry with which the templars were 
charged, it is a fubjed; involved in great obfcurity. The cat is but 
little fpoken of in the depofitions. Some Italian knights confefled 
that they had been prefent at a fecret chapter of twelve knights 
held at Brindiii, when a grey cat fuddenly appeared amongft them, 
and they worfhipped it. At Nifmes, fome templars declared that 
they had been prefent at a chapter at Montpellier, when the demon 
appeared to them in the form of a cat, and promifed them worldly 
profperity, but they appear to have been vifionaries not to be 
trufted, for they ftated that at the fame time devils appeared in the 
fhape of women. An Englifh templar, examined in London, de- 
pofed that in England they did not adore the cat, or the idol, but 
that he had heard it pofitively ftated that the cat and the idol were 
worftiipped by the templars in parts beyond fea.^ A folitary 
Frenchman, examined in Paris, Gillet de Encreyo, fpoke of the 
cat, and faid that he had heard, but had forgotten who were his 
informants, and did not believe them, that beyond fea a certain cat 
had appeared to the templars in their battles.^ The cat belongs to 
a lower clafs of popular fuperftitions, perhaps, than that of the 

This, however, was not the cafe with the idol, which was gene- 
rally defcribed as the figure of a human head, and appears only 
to have been fhown in the more fecret chapter meetings on parti- 
cular occafions. Many of the templars examined before the com- 
miflioners, faid that they had heard this idol head fpoken of as 
exifting in the order, and others depofed to having feen it. It was 
generally defcribed as being about the natural fize of a man's head, 

^ Refpondit quod in Anglia non adorant catum cec idolum, quod ipfe fciat ; fed 
audivit bene, quod adorant catum et idolum in partibus tranfmarinis. Wilkins, 
Concilia, vol. ii, p. 384. 

- Audivit tamen ab aliquibus dici, de quibus non recordatur, quod quidam catus 
apparebat ultra mare in prasliis eorum, quod tamen non credit. Proces, i, 251. 


with a very fierce-looking face and a beard, the latter fometimes 
white. Different witnefles varied as to the material of which it was 
made, and, indeed, in various other particulars, which lead us to 
fuppofe that each houfe of the templars, where the idol exifted, had 
its own head, and that they varied in form. They agreed generally 
that this head was an objed of worfhip. One templar depofcd that 
he was prefent at a chapter of the order in Paris, when the head 
was brought in, but he was unable to defcribe it at all, for, when 
he faw it, he was fo ftruck with terror that he hardly knew where 
he was. ^ Another, Ralph de Gyfi, who held the office of receptor 
for the province of Champagne, faid that he had feen the head in 
many chapters; that, when it was introduced, all prefent threw 
themfelves on the ground and adored it: and when afked to de- 
fcribe it, he faid, on his oath, that its countenance was fo terrible, 
that it feemed to him to be the figure of a demon — ufing the French 
word un maufe, and that as often as he faw it, fo great a fear took 
pofl'effion of him, that he could hardly look upon it without fear 
and trembling.^ Jean Taylafer faid that, at his reception into the 
order, his attention was directed to a head upon the altar in the 
chapel, which he was told he muff worfhip; he defcribed it as of 
the natural fize of a man's head, but could not defcribe it more 
particularly, except that he thought it was ofareddiffi colour.-'^ 
Raynerus de Larchent faw the head twice in a chapter, efpecially 
once in Paris, where it had a baard, and they adored and kifl"ed it, 

^ Ipfe teftis, vilb dido capite, fuit adeo perterritus quod quafi nefciret ubi efret. 
Procesy i, 399. 

2 Interrogatus cujus figurse eft, dixit per juramentum fuum quod ita eft tcrribilis 
figurae et afpeftus quod videbatur fibi quod eflet figura cujufdam dasmonis, dicens 
Gallice d'un maufe, et quod quocienfcunque videbat eum tantus timor eum invade- 
bat, quod vix poterat illud refpicere nifi cum maximo timore et tremore. Proces, 

. ii, 364. 

3 Proces, i, 190. 


and called it their faviour.^ Guillermus de Herbaleyo faw the 
head with its beard, at two chapters. He thought it was of filver 
gilt, and wood infide. He "faw the brethern adore it, and he 
went through the form of adoring it himfelf, but he did it not in 
his heart." ^ According to one witnefs, Deodatus Jaffet, a knight 
from the fouth of France who had been received at Pedenat, 
the receptor fhowed him a head, or idol, which appeared to 
have three faces, and faid to him, "You muft adore this as your 
faviour, and the faviour of the order of the temple," and he added 
that he was made to worfhip the idol, faying, " BlefTed be he 
who fhall fave my foul ! " Another deponent gave a very fimilar 
account. Another knight of the order, Hugo de Paraudo, faid 
that, in a chapter at Montpellier, he had both feen, held, and felt, 
the idol, or head, and that he and the other brothers adored it, but 
he, like the others, pleaded that he did not adore it in his heart. 
He defcribed it as fupported on four feet, two before and two 
behind.^ Guillaume de Arrablay, the king's almoner [eleemqfynarius 
regius), faid that in the chapter at which he was received, a head 
made of filver was placed on the altar, and adored by thofe who 
formed the chapter ; he was told that it was the head of one of the 
eleven thoufand virgins, and had always believed this to be the 
cafe, until after the arreft of the order, when, hearing all that was 
faid on the matter, he "fufpeded" that it was the idol ; and he adds 
in his depofition that it feemed to him to have two faces, a terrible 
look, and a filver beard.* It does not appear very clear why he 
fhould have taken a head with two faces, a fierce look, and a beard, 

^ Quod adorant, ofculantur, et vocant falvatorem fuum. Proces, ii, 279. 

^ Et vidit fratres adorare illud ; et ipfe fingebat illud adorare, fed nunquam fecit 
corde, ut dixit. Proces, ii, 300. 

3 Proces, ii, 363. 

'* Videtur fibi quod haberet duas facies, et quod effet terribilis afpeftu, et quod ha- 
beret barbam argenteam. Proces, i, 502. 


for one of the eleven thoufand virgins, but this is, perhaps, partly 
explained by the depofition of another witnefs, Guillaume Pidoye, 
who had the charge of the relics, &c, belonging to the Temple in 
Paris, and who produced a head of filver gilt, having a woman's 
face, and a fmall fkull, refembling that of a woman, infide, which 
was faid to be that of one of the eleven thoufand virgins. At the 
fame time another head was brought forward, having a beard, and 
fuppofed to be that of the idol.^ Both thefe witnefTes had no 
doubt confounded two things. Pierre Garald, of Murfac, another 
witnefs, faid that after he had denied Chrift and fpittenon the crofs, 
the receptor drew from his bofom a certain fmall image of brafs or 
gold, which appeared to reprefent the figure of a woman, and told 
him that " he muft believe in it, and have faith in it, and that 
it would be well for him."^ Here the idol appears in the form of 
a ftatuette. There was alfo another account of the idol, which 
perhaps refers to fome further objed of fuperftition among the 
templars. According to one deponent, it was an old fkin embalmed, 
with bright carbuncles for eyes, which fhone like the light of 
heaven. Others faid that it was the fkin of a man, but agreed with 
the others in regard to the carbuncles.^ In England a minorite 
friar depofed that an Englifh knight of the Temple had aflured 
him that the templars had four principal idols in this country, one 
in the facrifty of the Temple in London, another at Briftelham, a 
third at Brueria (Bruern in Lincolnfhire), and the fourth at fome 
place beyond the Humber.'* 

1 Proces, ii, 218. 

2 Item, dixit quod poil prsdidla didlus receptor, extrahens de finu fuo quamdam 
parvam imaginem de leone (^apparently a mi/reading') vel de auro, quas vidcbatur 
habere effigiem muliebrem, dixit ei quod crederet in earn, et haberet in ea fiduciam, 
et bene fibi eflet. Proces, ii, 212. 

3 Du Puy, HiJ}. des Tenpl., pp. 22, 24. 
^ Wilkins, Concil., vol. ii, p. 363. 


Another piece of information relating to this " idol," which has 
been the fubjed: of confiderable difcuflion among modern writers, 
was elicited from the examination of fome knights from the fouth. 
Gauferand de Montpefant, a knight of Provence, faid that their 
fuperior fhowed him an idol made in the form of Baffomet;^ ano- 
ther, named Raymond Rubei, defcribed it as a wooden head, on 
which the figure of Baphomet was painted, and adds, " that he 
worfhipped it by kiffingits feet, and exclaiming ' Yalla,' which was," 
he fays, " verbum Saracenorum" a word taken from the Saracens.^ 
A templar of Florence declared that, in the fecret chapters of the 
order, one brother faid to the other, fhowing the idol, " Adore this 
head — this head is your god and your Mahomet." The word 
Mahomet was ufed commonly in the middle ages as a general term 
for an idol or falfe god ; but fome writers have fuggefted that Ba- 
phomet is itfelf a mere corruption of Mahomet, and fuppofe that 
the templars had fecretly embraced Mahometanifm. A much more 
remarkable explanation of this word has, however, been propofed, 
which is, at the leaft, worthy of very great confideration, efpecially 
as it comes from fo diftinguifhed an orientalift and fcholar as the 
late baron Jofeph von Hammer-Piirgftall. It arofe partly from 
the comparifon of a number of objeds of art, ornamented with 
figures, and belonging apparently to the thirteenth century. Thefe 
objeds confift chiefly of fmall images, or ftatuettes, coffers, and 

1 Que leur fuperieur lui montra une idole barbue faite in jiguram Baffometi. 
Du Puy, Hijl. des Temp Hers, p. 216. 

2 Du Puy, HiJ}. des Templiers, p. 21. 

3 Von Hammer publiflied his difcoveries and opinions in 1816, in an elaborate 
eflay in the fixth volume of the Fundgruben des Orients, entitled, Myjlerium Bn- 
phometis revelatum, feu fratres militia Templi, qua gnojiici et quidem ophiani apo- 
Jiafi^, idolodulia et impuritatis conviSli per ipfa eorum monument a. In 1832, he 
publiihed a fupplementary eflay under the title Memoire fur deux coffrets gnojliques 
du Moyen Age, du Cabinet de M. le Due de Blacas, par M. Jofeph de Hammer. 


Von Hammer has defcribed, and given engravings of, twenty- 
four such images, which it muft be acknowledged anfwer very well 
to the defcriptions of their "idol " given by the templars in their 
examinations, except only that the templars ufually fpeakof them as 
of the fize of life, and as being merely heads. Mod of them have 
beards, and tolerably fierce countenances. Among thofe given by 
Von Hammer are feven which prefent only a head, and two with 
two faces, backwards and forwards, as defcribed in fome of the de- 
pofitions. Thefe two appear to be intended for female heads. 
Altogether Von Hammer has defcribed fifteen cups and goblets, 
but a much fmaller number of coffers. Both cups and coffers are 
ornamented with extremely curious figures, reprefenting a continu- 
ous fcene, apparently religious ceremonies of fome kind or other, 
but certainly of an obfcene charader, all the perfons engaged in 
which are reprefented naked. It is not a part of our fubjed to 
enter into a detailed examination of thefe myfteries. The moft in- 
terefting of the coffers defcribed by Von Hammer, which was pre- 
ferved in the private mufeum of the due de Blacas, is of calcarous 
flone, nine inches long by feven broad, and four and a half deep, 
with a lid about two inches thick. It was found in Burgundy. 
On the lid is fculptured a figure, naked, with a head-drefs refemb- 
ling that given to Cybele in ancient monuments, holding up achain 
with each hand, and furrounded with various fymbols, the fun and 
moon above, the flar and the pentacle below, and under the feet a 
human fkull.^ The chains are explained by Von Hammer as repre- 
fenting the chains of aeons of the Gnoflics. On the four fides of 
the coffer we fee a feries of figures engaged in the performance of 
various ceremonies, which are not eafily explained, but which Von 
Hammer confiders as belonging to the rites of the Gnoftics and 
Ophians. The offering of a calf figures prominently among thefe 

^ See our plate xxxviii. 


rites, a worfhip which is faid ftill to exift among the Noflarii, or 
NefTarenes, the Drufes, and other feds in the Eaft. In the middle 
of the fcene on one fide, a human fkull is feen, raifed upon a pole. 
On another fide an androgynous figure is reprefentedas theobjeftof 
worfhip of two candidates for initiation, who wear mafks apparently 
of a cat, and whofe form of adoration reminds us of the kifs enafted 
at the initiation of the templars.^ This group reminds us, too, of the 
pictures of the orgies in the worfhip of Priapus, as reprefented on 
Roman monuments. The fecond of the coffers in the cabinet of 
the due de Blacas was found in Tufcany, and is rather larger than 
the one just defcribed, but made of the fame material, though 
of a finer grain. The lid of this coffer is loft, but the fides are 
covered with fculpture of a fimilar charafter. A large goblet, or 
bowl, of marble, in the imperial mufeum at Vienna, is furrounded 
by a feries of figures of fimilar character, which are engraved by 
Von Hammer, who fees in one group of men (who are furnifhed 
in the original withprominent phalli) and ferpents, a dired; allufion 
to Ophite rites. Next after thefe comes a group which we have 
reproduced in our plate,^ reprefenting a flrange figure feated upon 
an eagle, and accompanied with two of the fymbols reprefented on 
the coffer found in Burgundy, the fun and moon. The two 
fymbols below are confidered by Von Hammer to reprefent, ac- 
cording to the rude mediaeval notions of its form, the womb, or 
matrix ; the fecundating organ is penetrating the one, while the 
infant is emerging from the other. The laft figure in this feries, 
which we have alfo copied,^ is identical with that on the lid of the 
coffer found in Burgundy, but it is diflindfly reprefented as andro- 
gynous. We have exadly the fame figure on another coffer, in the 
Vienna mufeum,* with fome of the fame fymbols, the flar, pentacle, 

1 Plate xxxix, fig. i. ^ Plate xxxix, fig. 2. ^ Plate xxxix, fig. 3. 

■* Plate xxxix, fig. 4. 


and huiiKin (kull. Perhaps, in this laft, the beard is intended to 
(how that the figure muft be taken as androgynous. 

On an impartial comparifon we can hardly doubt that thefe 
curious objeds, — images, coffers, cups, and bowls, — have been 
intended for ufe in fome fecret and myfterious rites, and the 
arguments by which Von Hammer attempts to (how that they 
belonged to the templars feem at leaft to be very plaufible. 
Several of the objeds reprefented upon them, even the fkull, are 
alluded to in fome of the confeffions of the templars, and thefe 
evidently only confeffed a part of what they knew, or otherwife 
they were very imperfedly acquainted with the fecrets of their 
order. Perhaps the moft fecret dodrines and rites were only com- 
municated fully to a fmall number. There is, however, another 
circumflance conneded with thefe objeds which appears to furnifh 
an almoft irrefiftible confirmation of Von Hammer's theory. Mofl: 
of them bear infcriptions, written in Arabic, Greek, and Roman 
charaders. The infcriptions on the images appear to be merely 
proper names, probably thofe of their poffeffors. But with the 
coffers and bowls the cafe is different, for they contain a nearly 
uniform infcription in Arabic charaders,which,according to the inter- 
pretation given by Von Hammer, contains a religious formula. The 
Arabic charaders, he fays, have been copied by a European, and not 
very {kilful, carver, who did not understand them, from an Eaftern 
original, and the infcriptions contain corruptions and errors which 
either arofe from this circumftance, or, as Von Hammer fuggefts, 
may have been introduced defignedly, for the purpofe of concealing 
the meaning from the uninitiated. A good example of this infcrip- 
tion furrounds the lid of the coffer found in Burgundy, and is 
interpreted as follows by Von Hammer, who regards it as a fort of 
parody on the Cantate laudes Domini. In fad, the word under the 
feet of the figure, between them and the fkull, is nothing more 
than the Latin cantate expreffed in Arabic letters. The words with 

D D 


which this Cantate begins are written above the head of the figure, 
and are read by Von Hammer as Jah la Sidna^ which is more cor- 
reftly Jella Sidna, i. e. O God, our Lord! The formula itfelf, to 
which this is an introduction, commences on the right fide, and the 
firfl; part of it reads Houve Mete Zonar fejeba {or Jebad) B. Mounkir 
teaala tix. There is no fuch word in Arabic as mete^ and Von 
Hammer confiders it to be fimply the Greek word iJt-rjTK;^ wifdom, 
a perfonification in what we may perhaps call the Gnoftic mytho- 
logy anfwering to the Sophia of the Ophianites. He confiders 
that the name Baphomet is derived from the Greek words I3a(f)rj 
fX')]T€o<i, i. e. the baptifm of Metis, and that in its application it is 
equivalent with the name Mete itfelf. He has further fliown, we 
think conclufively, that Baphomet, inftead of being a corruption 
of Mahomet, was a name known among the Gnoftic fefts in 
the Eaft. Zonar is not an Arabic word, and is perhaps only a cor- 
ruption or error of the fculptor, but Von Hammer thought it 
meant a girdle, and that it alluded to the myfterious girdle of the 
templars, of which fo much is faid in their examinations. The 
letter B is fuppofed by Von Hammer to ftand here for the name 
Baphomet, or for that of Barbalo, one of the moft important per- 
fonages in the Gnoftic mythology. Mounkir is the Arabic word for 
a perfon who denies the orthodox faith. The reft of the formula 
is given on the other fide of the figure, but as the infcription here 
prefents feveral corruptions, we will give Von Hammer's tranfla- 
tion (in Latin) of the more corre6t copy of the formula infcribed 
on the bowl or goblet preferved ip the mufeum at Vienna. In the 
Vienna bowl, the formula of faith is written on a fort of large 
placard, which is held up to view by a figure apparently intended 
for another reprefentation of Mete or Baphomet. Von Hammer 
tranflates it: — 

** Exaltetur Mete germinans, ftirps noftra ego et feptem fuere, tu renegans reditus 


This ftill is, it mull be confefled, rather myfterious, and, in fad, 
nioft of thefe copies of the formula of faith are more or lefs de- 
fedive, but, from a comparifon of them, the general form and 
meaning of the whole is made perfectly clear. This may be 
tranflated, " Let Mete be exalted, who caufes things to bud and 
bloflbm ! he is our root; it (the root) is one and feven ; abjure 
(the faith), and abandon thyfelf to all pleafures." The number 
feven is faid to refer to the feven archons of the Gnoftic creed. 

There are certainly feveral points in this formula which prefent 
at leaft a lingular coincidence with the ftatements made in the exa- 
minations of the templars. In the firft place the invocation which 
precedes the formula, Yalla (Jah la), agrees exadly with the state- 
ment of Raymond Rubei, one of the Provencal templars that when 
the fuperior exhibited the idol, or figure of Baphomet, he kifled it 
and exclaimed "Yalla!" which he calls "a word of the Saracens," 
i. e. Arabic.^ It is evident that, in this cafe, the witnefs not only knew 
the word, but that he knew to what language it belonged. Again, 
the epithet ^^rw/«rt«j, applied to Mete, or Baphomet, is in accord 
with the ftatement in the formal lift of articles of accufation againft 
the templars, that they worfhipped their idol becaufe "it made the 
trees to flourifti and the earth to germinate."^ The abjuration of 
the formula on the monuments feems to be identical with the denial 
in the initiation of novices to the order of the Temple ; and it may 
be added, that the clofing words of the formula involve in the 
original an idea more obfcene than is exprefled in the tranflation, 
an allufion to the unnatural vice in which the templars are ftated to 
have received permifTion to indulge. There is another curious 
ftatement in the examinations which feems to point diredlly to our 

1 Du Puy, Hill, des Templiers, p. 94. 

2 Item, quod facit arbores florere. Item, quod terram germinare. Michelet, 
Proces des Templiers, i, 92. 


images and coffers — one of the English witnefles under exami- 
nation, named John de Donington, who had left the order and 
become a friar at Sal if bury, faid that an old templar had affured him 
that " fome templars carried fuch idols in their coffers."^ They 
feem to have been treafured up for the fame reafon as the mandrake, 
for one article in the articles againft the templars is, that they wor- 
ihipped their idol becaufe " it could make them rich, and that it 
had brought all their great wealth to the order."'^ 

The two other claffes of what the Baron Von Hammer fuppofed 
to be relics of the fecret worfhip of the templars, appear to us to 
be much lefs fatisfadtorily explained. Thefe are fculptures on old 
churches, and coins or medals. Such fculptures are found, acord- 
ing to Von Hammer, on the churches of Schongraber, Waltendorf, 
and Bercktoldorf, in Auftria; in that of Deutfchaltenburg, and 
in the ruins of that of Poftyen, in Hungary ; and in thofe of 
Murau, Prague, and Egra, in Bohemia. To thefe examples we 
are to add the fculptures of the church of Montmorillon, in 
Poitou, fome of which have been engraved by Montfaucon,^ and 
thofe of the church of Ste. Croix, in Bordeaux. We have already* 
remarked the rather frequent prevalence of fubjects more or lefs 
obfcene in the fculptures which ornament early churches, and fug- 
gefted that they may be explained in fome degree by the tone given 
to fociety by the exiftence of this priapic worfhip ; but we are not 
inclined to agree with Von Hammer's explanation of them, or to 
think that they have any connection with the templars. We can 
eafily underftand the exiftence of fuch dired: allufions on coffers or 

1 Item dixit idem veteranus eidem fratri jurato, quod aliqui templarii portant 
talia idola in cofFris fuis. Wilkins, Concilia, W, 363. 

2 Item, quod divites facere. Item, quod omnes divitias ordinis dabat eis. 
Michelet, Proch, i. 92. 

3 Montfaucon, A7itiquite Expliquee, Suppl. torn, ii, plate 59. 
^ See before, p. 198. 


other objeds intended to be concealed, or at leaft kept in private; 
but it is hardly probable that men who held opinions and pradifed 
rites the very rumour of which was then fo full of danger, would 
proclaim them publicly on the walls of their buildings, for the wall 
of a church was then, perhaps, the moft effeftual medium of publi- 
cation. The queftion of the fuppofed templar medals is very 
obfcure. Von Hammer has engraved a certain number of thefe 
objeds, which prefent various fmgular fubjeds on the obverfe, 
fometimes with a crofs on the reverfe, and fometimes bradeate. 
Antiquaries have given the name of abbey tokens to a rather 
numerous clafs of fuch medals, the ufe of which is ftill very uncer- 
tain, although there appears to be little doubt of its being of a 
religious charader. Some have fuppofed that they were diftributed 
to thofe who attended at certain facraments or rites of the Church, 
who could thus, when called up, prove by the number of their 
tokens, the greater or lefs regularity of their attendance. Whether 
this were the cafe or not, it is certain that the burlefque and other 
focieties of the middle ages, fuch as the feaft of fools, parodied 
thefe "tokens," and had burlefque medals, in lead and fometimes 
in other metals, which were perhaps ufed for a fimilar purpofe. 
We have already fpoken more than once of obfcene medals, and 
have engraved fpecimens of them, which were perhaps ufed in 
fecret focieties derived from, or founded upon, the ancient phallic 
worfhip. It is not at all improbable that the templars may have 
employed fimilar medals, and that ihofe would contain allufions to 
the rites in which they were employed. The medals publifhed by 
Von Hammer are faid to have been found chiefly on the fites of 
fettlements of the order of the Temple. However, the com- 
parifon of fads flated in the confeflions of many of the templars, 
as preferved in the official reports, with the images and fculptured 
cups and coffers given by Von Hammer-Piirgftall, lead to the 
conclufion that there is truth in the explanation he gives of the 


latter, and that the templars, or at leaft fome of them, had fecretly 
adopted a form of the rites of Gnofticifm, which was itfelf founded 
upon the phallic worfhip of the ancients. An Englifh templar, 
Stephen de Staplebridge, acknowledged that " there were two 
' profeffions ' in the order of the Temple, the firft lawful and 
good, the fecond contrary to the faith."^ He had been admitted 
to the firft of thefe when he firft entered the order, eleven years 
before the time of his examination, but he was only initiated into 
the fecond or inner myfteries about a year afterwards ; and he 
gives almoft a pidurefque defcription of this fecond initiation, 
which occurred in a chapter held at ' Dineflee' in Herefordfhire. 
Another Englifti templar, Thomas de Tocci, faid that the errors 
had been brought into England by a French knight of high 
pofition in the order.^ 

We have thus feen in how many various forms the old phallic, 
or priapic, worftiip prefented itfelf in the middle ages, and how 
pertinacioufly it held its ground through all the changes and de- 
velopments of fociety, until at length we find all the circumftances 
of the ancient priapic orgies, as well as the mediaeval additions, 
combined in that great and extenfive fuperftition — witchcraft. At 
all times the initiated were believed to have obtained thereby powers 
which were not poflefTed by the uninitiated, and they only were 
fuppofed to know the proper forms of invocation of the deities 
who were the objedls of their worftiip, which deities the Chriftian 
teachers invariably transformed into devils. The vows which the 
people of antiquity addrefled to Priapus, thofe of the middle ages 
addrefled to Satan. The witches' "Sabbath" was fimply the laft form 
which the Priapeia and Liberalia affumed in Weftern Europe, and 

^ Quod duffi funt profeffiones in ordine templi, prima licita et bona, et fecunda 
eft contra fidem. Wilkins, Concilia, ii, 383. 
2 Wilkins, ConciL, ii, 387. 


in its various details all the incidents of thofe great and licentious 
orgies of the Romans were reproduced. The Sabbath of the 
witches does not appear to have formed a part of the Teutonic 
mythology, but we can trace it from the South through the coun- 
tries in which the Roman element of fociety predominated. The 
incidents of the Sabbath are diftindlly traced in Italy as early as the 
beginning of the fifteenth century, and foon afterwards they are 
found in the fouth of PVance. Towards the middle of that century 
an individual named Robinet de Vaulx, who had lived the life of a 
hermit in Burgundy, was arrefted, brought to a trial at Langres, 
and burnt. This man was a native of Artois ; he ftated that to 
his knowledge there were a great number of witches in that pro- 
vince, and he not onlylconfefled that he had attended thefe nodturnal 
aflembliesof the witches, but he gave the names of fome inhabitants 
of Arras whom he had met there. At this time — it was in the year 
1459 — the chapter general of the Jacobins, or friars preachers, 
was held at Langres, and among those who attended it was a Jaco- 
bin friar named Pierre de Brouffart, who held the office of inquifitor 
of the faith in the city of Arras, and who eagerly liftened to the 
circumftances of Robinet's confeflion. Among the names men- 
tioned by him as having been prefent at the witches' meetings, were 
thofe of a proftitute named Demifelle, then living at Douai, and a 
man named Jehan Levite, but who was better known by the nick- 
name of Abbe de pen de Jens (the abbot of little fenfe). On Brouf- 
fart's return to Arras, he caufed both thefe perfons to be arrefted 
and brought to that city, where they were thrown into prifon. The 
latter, who was a painter, and a compofer and finger of popular 
fongs, had left Arras before Robinet de Vaulx had made his con- 
fefiion, but he was traced to Abbeville, in Ponthieu, and captured 
there. Confeffions were extorted from thefe perfons which compro- 
mifed others, and a number of individuals were committed topriion 
in confequence. In the fequel a certain number of them were burnt, 


after they had been induced to unite in a ftatement to the following 
effeft. At this time, in this part of France at leaft, the term 
Vauderie, or, as it was then written, Vaulderie, was applied to 
the practice or profeffion of witchcraft. They faid that the place 
of meeting was commonly a fountain in the wood of Mofflaines, 
about a league diftant from Arras, and that they fometimes went 
thither on foot. The more ufual way of proceeding, however, 
according to their own account, was this — they took an ointment 
given to them by the devil, with which they annointed a wooden 
rod, at the fame time rubbing the palms of their hands with it, and 
then, placing the rod between their legs, they were fuddenly 
carried through the air to the place of aftembly. They found 
there a multitude of people, of both fexes, and of all eftates 
and ranks, even wealthy burghers and nobles — and one of the 
perfons examined declared that he had feen there not only ordi- 
nary ecclefiaftics, but bifhops and even cardinals. They found tables 
already fpread, covered with all forts of meats, and abundance of 
wines. A devil prefided, ufually in the form of a goat, with the 
tail of an ape, and a human countenance. Each firft did oblation 
and homage to him by offering him his or her foul, or, at leaft 
fome part of their body, and then, as a mark of adoration, kifled 
him on the pofteriors. All this time the worftiippers held burning 
torches in their hands. The abbot of little (^.n^e^, already men- 
tioned, held the office of mafter of the ceremonies at thefe meetings, 
and it was his duty to fee that the new-comers duly performed 
their homage. After this they trampled on the crofs, and fpit 
upon it, in defpite of Jefus and of the Holy Trinity, and per- 
formed other profane ads. They then feated themfelves at the 
tables, and after they had eaten and drunk fufficiently, they rofe 
and joined in afcene of promifcuous intercourfe between the fexes, 
in which the demon took part, afluming alternately the form of 
either fex, according to that of his temporary partner. Other 


wicked a(5ts followed, and then the devil preached to them, and en- 
joined them efpecially not to go to church, or hear mafs, or touch 
holy water, or perform any other of the duties of good Chriftians. 
After this fermon was ended, the meeting was diflblved, and they 
feparated and returned to their feveral homes. ^ 

The violence of thefe witch perfecutions at Arras led to a reac- 
tion, which, however, was not lafting, and from this time to the end 
of the century, the fear of witchcraft fpread over Italy, France, 
and Germany, and went on increafing in intenfity. It was during 
this period that witchcraft, in the hands of the more zealous inqui- 
fitors, was gradually worked up into a great fyftem, and books of 
confiderable extent were compiled, containing accounts of the 
various pradices of the witches, and directions for proceeding 
againft them. One of the earlieft of thefe writers was a Swifs 
friar, named John Nider, who held the office of inquifitor in Swit- 
zerland, and has devoted one book of his Formicarium to witch- 
craft as it exifted in that country. He makes no allufion to the 
witches' Sabbath, which, therefore, appears then not to have been 
known among the Swifs. Early in 1489, Ulric Molitor publifhed 
a treatife on the fame fubjeft, under the title of T>e Pythonicis 
Mulieribus, and in the fame year, 1489, appeared the celebrated 
book, the Malleus Maleficarum^ or Hammer of Witches, the work 
of the three inquifitors for Germany, the chief of whom was Jacob 
Sprenger. This work gives us a complete and very interefting 
account oi witchcraft as it then exifted as an article of belief in 
Germany. The authors difcufs various queftions connedled with it, 
fuch as that of the myfterious tranfport of witches from one place 
to another, and they decide that this tranfport was real, and that 
they were carried bodily through the air. It is remarkable, how- 

1 The account of the witch trials at Arras was publifhed in the iiipplcmentary 
additions to Monllrelet ; but the original records of the proceedings have fince been 
found and printed. 



ever, that even the Malleus Maleficarum contains no dired: allufion 
to the Sabbath, and we may conclude that even then this great 
priapic orgie did not form a part of the Germanic creed; it was 
no doubt brought in there amid the witchcraft mania of the fix- 
teenth century. From the time of the publication o{ \k\.^ Malleus 
Maleficarum\int\\ the beginning of the feventeenth century, through 
all parts of Weftern Europe, the number of books upon forcery 
which iffued from the prefs was immenfe; and we muft not forget 
that a monarch of our own, king James I, fhone among the writers 
on witchcraft. 

Three quarters of a century nearly had pafled fince the time of 
the Malleus^ when a Frenchman named Bodin, Latinifed into 
Bodinus, publifhed a rather bulky treatife which became from that 
time the text-book on witchcraft. The Sabbath is defcribed in 
this book in all its completenefs. It was ufually held in a lonely 
place, and when pofTible on the fummits of mountains or in the 
folitude of forefts. When the witch prepared to attend it, fhe went 
to her bedroom, ftripped herfelf naked, and anointed her body with 
an ointment made for that purpofe. She next took a flafF, which 
alfo in many cafes fhe anointed, and, placing it between her legs 
and uttering a charm, fhe was carried through the air, in an in- 
credibly fhort fpace of time, to the place of meeting. Bodin dif- 
cuffes learnedly the queftion whether the witches were really carried 
through the air corporeally or not, he decides it in the affirma- 
tive. The Sabbath itfelf was a great alTemblage of witches, of 
both fexes, and of demons. It was a point of emulation with 
the vifitors to bring new converts with them, and on their arrival 
they prefented thefe to the demon who prefided, and to whom they 
offered their adoration by the unclean kifs upon his pofleriors. 
They next rendered an account of all the mifchief they had perpe- 
trated fince the previous meeting, and received reward or reproof 
according to its amount. The devil, who ufually took the form 


of a goat, next diftributed among them powders, unguents, and 
other articles to be employed in fimilar evil doings in future. 
The worfhippers now made offerings to the devil, confiding of 
fheep, or other articles, or, in fome cafes, of a little bird only, or of 
a lock of the witches' hair, or of fome other equally trifling obje6l. 
They were then obliged to feal their denial of the Chrifcian faith 
by trampling on the crofs and blafpheming the faints. The devil 
then, or in the courfe of the meeting, had fexual intercourfe with 
the new witch, placed his mark upon fome concealed part of her 
body, very commonly in her fexual parts, and gave her a familiar 
or imp, who was to be at her bidding and affifl in the perpetration 
of evil. All this was what may be called the bufinefs of the meet- 
ing, and when it was over, they all went to a great banquet, which 
was fet out on tables, and which fometimes conltlled of fumptuous 
viands, but more frequently of loathfome or unfubftantial food, fo 
that the guefts often left the meeting as hungry as though they 
had tailed nothing. After the feaft they all rofe from the table to 
dance, and a fcene of wild and uproarious revelry followed. The 
ufual dance on this occafion appears to have been the carole o^ \\\^ 
middle ages, which was no doubt the common dance of the pea- 
fantry; a party, alternately a male and a female, held each other's 
hands in a circle, with this peculiarity that, whereas in ordinary 
life the dancers turned their faces inward into the circle, here they 
turned them outwards, fo that their backs were towards the interior 
of the circle. It was pretended that this arrangement was defigned 
to prevent them from feeing and recognizing each other; but 
others fuppofed that it was a mere caprice of the evil one, who 
wifhed to do everything in a form contrary to that in which it 
was ufually done by Chriftians, Other dances were introduced, 
of a more violent, and fome of them of an obfcene, charadler. 
The fongs, too, which were fung in this orgie were either obfcene 
or vulgarly ridiculous. The mufic was often drawn from burlefque 


inftruments, fuch as a ftick or a bone for a flute, a horfe's fkull for 
a lyre, the trunk of a tree for a drum, and a branch for a trumpet. 
As they became excited, they became more licentious, and at 
lafl; they abandoned themfelves to indifcriminate fexual inter- 
courfe, in which the demons played a very adive part. The meet- 
ing feparated in time to allow the witches, by the fame expeditious 
conveyance which brought them, to reach their homes before the 
cock crowed.^ 

Such is the account of the Sabbath, as defcribed by Bodin ; but we 
have reviewed it briefly in order to defcribe this ftrange fcene from 
the much fuller and more curious narrative of another Frenchman, 
Pierre de Lancre. This man was a confeiller du roi, or judge, in 
the parliament of Bordeaux, and was joined in 1609 with one of 
his colleagues in a commiflion to proceed againft persons accufed of 
forcery in Labourd, a diftrid: in the Bafque provinces, then cele- 
brated for its witches, and apparently for the low fl:ate of morality 
among its inhabitants. It is a wild, and, in many parts, defolate 
region, the inhabitants of which held to their ancient fuperftitions 
with great tenacity. De Lancre, after arguing learnedly on the 
nature and charadler of demons, difcufl!es the queftion why there 
were fo many of them in the country of Labourd, and why the 
inhabitants of that diftrid were fo much addifted to forcery. The 
women of the country, he fays, were naturally of a lafcivious tem- 
perament, which was fliown even in their manner of drefling, for 
he defcribes their head-drefs as being Angularly indecent, and de- 
fcribes them as commonly expofing their perfon very immodefl:ly.^ 
He adds, that the principal produce of this country confifted of 

1 The firll edition of the work of Bodin, De la Demonomanie des Sorciers, was 
publifhed at Paris, in 4to, in i 580. It. went through many editions, and was tranf- 
lated into Latin and other languages. 

2 Et pour le commun des femmes, en quelques lieux, voulant faire les martiales, 
elles portent certains tourions ou morrions indecens, et d'une forme fi peu feante. 


apples, and argues thence, it is not very apparent why, that the 
women partook of the character of Eve, and yielded more eafily 
to temptation than thofe of other countries. After having fpent 
four months in dealing out rather feverely what was then called 
" juftice " to thefe ignorant people, the two commiflioners returned 
to Bordeaux, and there De Lancre, deeply ftruck with what he 
had (een and heard, betook himfelf to the ftudy of witchcraft, and in 
due time produced his great work on thefubjed, to which he gave 
the title of Tableau de V Inconjlance des Mauvais Anges et Demons} 
Pierre de Lancre writes honeftly and confcientioufly, and he evidently 
believes everything he has written. His book is valuable for the 
great amount of new information it contains, derived from the 
confeffions of the witches, and given apparently in their own 
words. The fecond book is devoted entirely to the details of the 

It was ftated by the witches in their examinations that, in times 
back, they had appointed Monday to be the day, or rather night, 
of affembly, but that in their time they had two nights of meeting 
in the week, thofe of Wednefday and Friday. Although fome 
ftated that they had been carried to the place of meeting in the 
middle of the day, they moftly agreed in faying that the hour at 
which they were carried to the Sabbath was midnight. The place 
ofaftenbly was ufually chofen at a fpot where roads crofted, but 
this was not always the cafe, for De Lancre" tells us that they were 

qu'on diroit que c'ell plulloft I'armet de Priape que celuy du dieu Mars ; leur 
coeffure femble tefmoigner leur defir, car les veulves portent le morrion fans creile 
pour marquer que le mafic leur defFault. Et en Labourt les femmes montlrcnt lour 
derriere tellement que tout rornementde leur cotillons pliflez ell derriere, et afin 
qu'il foit veu elles retroulTent leur robbe et la mettcnt fur la tcile et fe couvrent juf- 
qu'aux yeux. De Lancre, Inconjlance des Demons, p. 40. 

^ 4to. Paris, 161 z. A new and improved edition appeared in 161 3. 

2 II a aufli accoullume les tenir en quelque lieu defert et fauvage, comme au milieu 


accuftomed to hold their Sabbath in fome lonely and wildlocality,as 
in the middle of a heath, which was feleded efpecially for being far 
from the haunts or habitations of man. To this place, he fays, 
they gave the name of Aquelarre, which he interprets as meaning 
Lane de Bouc, that' is, the heath of the goat, meaning that it was 
the place where the goat, the ufual form affumed by Satan, con- 
voked his aflemblies. And he goes on to exprefs his opinion that 
thefe wild places were the original fcenes of the Sabbath, though 
fubfequently other places had been often adopted. " For we have 
heard more than fifty witnefles who affured us that they had 
been at the Goat's Heath to the Sabbath held on the mountain 
of La Rhune, fometimes on the open mountain, fometimes in the 
chapel of the St. Efprit, which is on the top of it, and fome- 
times in the church of Dordach, which is on the borders of La- 
bourd. At times they held it in private houfes, as when we held 
the trial, in the parifh of St. Pe, the Sabbath was held one night 

in our hotel, called Barbare-nena, and in that of Mafter 

de Segure, afleflbr-criminal at Bayonne, who, at the fame time 

d'une lande ; et encore en lieu du tout hors de paffage, de voifinage, d'habitation, et de 
rencontre : et communement ils I'appellent Aquelarre, qui fignifie Lane de Bouc, 
comme qui dirait la lane ou lande oii le Bouc convoque fes aflemblees. Et de faifl 
les forciers qui confeflent, nomment le lieu pourlachofe, etlachofeoul'afTemblee pour 
le lieu : tellement qu'encore que proprement Lane de Bouc, foit le Sabbat qui fe tient 
es landes, fi eil-ce qu'ils appellent auffi bien Lane de Bouc le Sabbath qui fe tient 
es eglifes et es places des villes, parroiffes, maifons, et autres lieux: parce qu'a mon 
advis les premiers lieux qui furent defcouverts, ou les diftes aflemblees fe faifoyent, 
furent es landes, pour la commodite du lieu. Et d'autant qu'on y voit le plus de ces 
boucs, chevres, et autres animaux femblables. Car nous avons ouy plus de cinquante 
tefmoins qui nous ont affeure avoir efte a la Lane de Bouc, au Sabbat fur la 
montagne de la Rhune, parfois a rentour,parfois dans la chappelle mefme du S. Efprit 
qui ell au deffus, et parfois dans I'eglife de Dordach, qui eft fur les lifieres 
de Labourt : parfois es maifons particulieres, comme quand nous leur faifions 
le proces en la parroifle de Sainft-Pe, le Sabbat fe tint une nuift dans noftre 
hoilel, appelle de Barbare-nena, et en celuy de Maiftre de Segure, aflefleur 


when we were there, made a more ample inquifition againft 
certain witches, by authority of an arrcfl: of the parliament of 
Bordeaux. Then they went the fame night to hold it at the 
refidence of the lord of the place, who is the Sieur d'Amou, and in 
his caftle of St. Pc. But we have not found in the whole country 
of Labourd any other parifh but that of St. Pc where the devil 
held the Sabbath in private houfes." 

The devil is further defcribed as feeking for his places of meeting, 
befides the heaths, old decayed houfes, and ruins of old caftles, 
efpecially when they were fituated on the fummits of mountains. 
An old cemetery was fometimes feleded, where, as De Lancre 
quaintly obferves, there were " no houfes but the houfes of the 
dead," efpecially if it were in a folitary fituation, as when attached to 
folitary churches and chapels, in the middle of the heaths, or on 
the tops of cliffs on the fea fhore, fuch as the chapel of the Portu- 
guefe at St. Jean de Luz, called St. Barbe, fituated fo high that it 
ferves as a landmark to the fhips approaching the coaft, or on a 
high mountain, as La Rhune in Labourd, and the Puy de Dome 
in Perigord, and other fuch places. 

criminel a Bayonne, lequel faifoit en mefme temps que nous y eftions une plus ample 
inquifition contre certaines forcieres, en vertu d'un arrell de la Cour de Parlement 
de Bourdeaux. Puis s'en allerent en mefme nuift le tenir chez le feigneur du 
lieu, qui ell le Sr. d'Amou, et en fon challeau de Sainft-Pe. Et n'avons trouve en 
tout le pays de Labourt aucune autre parroifle que cclle de Sainft-Pe, ou le Diablc 
tint le Sabbat es maifons particulieres. 

II cherche auffi parfois, outre les landes, de vieilles mazures et ruines de vieux 
chafteaux, afliz fur les coupeaux des montagnes ; parfois d'autres lieux folitaircs, ou, 
pour toutes maifons, il n'y a que des maifons des morts, qui font les cimetieres, et 
encore les plus efcartez, commes pres des eglifes ou chappelles feules, ou plantees au 
milieu d'une lande ou defert, ou fur une haute colle de la mcr, comme la chappelle 
des Portugais a Sain6l Jean de Luz appellee de Sainfte Barbe, fi haut montee qu'elle 
fert d'echauguete ou de phare pour les vaifleaux qui s'cn approchent, ou fur une haute 
montagne, comme la Rhune en Labourt et le Puy de Dome en Perigort, et autres 
lieux femblables. Tableau de P Inconjlance, p. 65. 


At thefe meetings, fometimes, but rarely, Satan was abfent, in 
which cafe a little devil took his place. De Lancre^ enumerates 
the various forms which the devil ufually alTumed on thefe occa- 
fions, with the remark that thefe forms were as numerous as "his 
movements were inconftant, full of uncertainty, illufion, deception, 
and impofture." Some of the witches he examined, among whom 
was a girl thirteen years of age, named Marie d'Aguerre, faid that 
at thefe affemblies there appeared a great pitcher or jug in the 
middle of the Sabbath, and that out of it the devil iflued in the 
form of a goat, which fuddenly became fo large that it was " fright- 
ful," and that at the end of the Sabbath he returned into the 
pitcher. Others defcribed him as being like the great trunk of a 
tree, without arms or feet, feated in a chair, with the face of a 
great and frightful looking man. Others fpoke of him as re- 
fembling a great goat, with two horns before and two behind, thofe 
before turned up in the femblance of a woman's perruque. Ac- 
cording to the moft common account, De Lancre fays he had 
three horns, the one in the middle giving out a flame, with 
which he ufed at the Sabbath to give both light and fire to the 

1 Refte maintenant, puis qu'il a comparu, d'en fgavoir la forme, et en quel eftat il a 
accoullume de fe reprefenter et faire voir efdiftes aflemblees. II n'a point de forme 
conftante, toutes fes aflions n'eftans que mouvements inconllans pleins d' incertitude, 
d'illufion, de deception, et d'impofture. 

Marie d'Aguerre aagee de treize ans, et quelques autres, depofoient, qu'efdiftes 
aflemblees il y a une grande cruche au milieu du Sabbat d'ou fort le Diable en 
forme de bouc : qu'eiknt forty il devient fi grand qu'il fe rend efpouvantable : et 
que le Sabbat finy il rentre dans la cruche. 

D'autres difent qu'il eil comme un grand tronc d'arbre obfcur fans bras et fans 
picds, affis dans une chaire, ayant quelque forme de vifage d'homme, grand et affreux. 

D'autres qu'il ell comme un grand bouc, ayant deux cornes devant et deux en 
derriere : que celles de devant fe rebraflent en haut comme la perruque d'une femme. 
Mais le commun eil qu'il a feulement trois cornes, et qu'il a quelque efpece de 
lumiere en celle du milieu, de laquelle il a accoullume au Sabbat d'efclairer et donner 
du feu et de la lumiere, mefme a ces forcieres, qui tiennent quelques chandelles 


witches, Tome of whom who had candles lit them at his horn, in 
order to hold them at a mock fervice of the mafs, which was one of 
the devil's ceremonies. He had alfo, fometimes, a kind of cap or 
hat over his horns. "He has before him his member hanging 
out, which he exhibits always a cubit in length ; and he has a 
great tail behind, with a form of a face under it, with which face he 
does not utter a word, but it ferves only to offer to kifs to thofe he 
likes, honouring certain witches of either fex more than the others." 
The devil, it will be obferved, is here reprefented with the fymbol 
ot Priapus. Marie d' Afpilecute, aged nineteen years, who lived at 
Handaye, depofed that the firft time fhe was prefented to the devil 
file kiffed him on this face behind, beneath a great tail, and that 
fhe repeated the kifs three times, adding that this face was made 
like the muzzle of a goat. Others said that he was ihaped like a 
great man, " enveloped in a cloudinefs, becaufe he would not be 
feen clearly," and that he was all "flambovant," and had a face red 
like an iron coming out of the furnace. Corneille Brolic, a lad of 
twelve vears of age, faid that when he was firft introduced to him 
he had the human form, with four horns on his head, and without 

alumees aux ceremonies de la mefle qu'ils voulent contrefaire. On luy voit aulTi 
quelque efpece de bonet ou chapcau au deflus de fes cornes. II a au devant Ton 
membre tire et pendant, et Ic monilre tousjours long d'une coudee, et une grande 
queue au derriere, et une forme de vilage au deflbubs : duquel vifage il ne profere au- 
cune parole, ains luy fert pour le donner a baifer a ceux que bon luv femble, honorant 
certains forciers ou forcieres plus les uns que les autres. 

Marie d' Afpilecute, habitante de Handaye, aagee dc 19 ans, depofc. Que la pre- 
miere fois qu'ellc luy fut prefcntee clle le baifa a ce vifage de derriere au defToubs d'une 
grande queue : qu'elle I'y a baife par trois fois, et qu'il avoit auiTi cc vifage faift commc 
le mufeau d'un bouc. 

D'autres difent qu'il ell en forme d'un grand homme veiUi tcnebreufement, et qui 
ne veut eftre veu claircment, fi bien qu'ils difent qu'il eft tout flamboyant, et le vifage 
rouge commc un fer fortant de la fournaife. 

Corneille Brolic aage de 12 ans, dift. Que lorfqu'il luv fut prelcntc il eftoit en 
forme d' homme, ayant quatre cornes en la tefte, et fans bras, et aflis dans une chairc, 

F F 


arms. He was feated in a pulpit, with fome of the women, who 
were his favourites, always near him. "And they are all agreed 
that it is a great pulpit, which feems to be gilt and very pompous." 
Janette d'Abadie, of Siboro, fixteen years old, faid that Satan had 
a face before and another behind his head, as they reprefent the god 
Janus. De Lancre had alfo heard him defcribed as a great black 
dog, as a large ox of brafs lying down, and as a natural ox in 

Although it was ftated that in former times the devil had ufually 
appeared in the form of a ferpent, — another coincidence with the 
priapic worfhip, — it appears certain that in the time of De Lancre 
his favourite form of fhowing himfelf was that of a goat. At the 
opening of the Sabbath the witches, male or female, prefented for- 
mally to the devil thofe who had never been at the Sabbath before, 
and the women efpecially brought to him the children whom they 
allured to him. The new converts, the novices, were made to re- 
nounce Chrift, the Virgin Mary, and the faints, and they were then 
re-baptized with mock ceremonies. They next performed their 
worfhip to the devil by kiffing him on the face under the tail, or 
otherwife. The young children were taken to the edge of a ftream 
— for the fcene was generally chofen on the banks of a ftream — 
and white wands were placed in their hands, and they were entrufted 
with the care of the toads which were kept there, and which were of 
importance in the fubfequent operations of the witches. The re- 
nunciation was frequently renewed, and in fome cafes it was required 

avec quelques femmes de fes favorites tousjours pres de luy. Et tous font d' accord 
que c'eil une grande chaire qui femble doree et fort pompeufe. 

Janette d'Abadie de Siboro, aagee de 16 ans, dit qu'il avoit un vifage devant, et un 
vifage derriere la tefte, comme on peint le dieu Janus. 

J'ai veu quelque procedure, eftant a la Tournelle, qui le peignoit au Sabbat comme 
un grand Icvrier noir : parfois comme un grand boeuf d'airain couche a terre, comme 
un boeuf naturel qui fe repofe. Tableau de l' Incorijiance, p. 67. 


every time the witch attended the Sabbath. Janette d'Abadie, a 
girl of fixtcen, laid that he made her repeatedly go through the 
ceremony of killing him on the face, and afterwards on the navel, 
then on the virile member, and then on the pofteriors/ After re- 
baptifm, he put his mark on the body of his vidim, in fome covered 
part where it was not likely to be feen. In women it was often 
placed on or within the fexual parts. 

De Lancre's account of the proceedings at the Sabbath is very full 
and curious.'- He fays that it "refembled a fair of merchants mingled 
together, furious and in tranfports, arriving from all parts — a meeting 
and mingling of a hundred thoufand fubjeds, fudden and tranfitory, 
novel, it is true, but of a frightful novelty, which offends the eye 
and fickens you. Among these fame fubjeds fome are real, and 
others deceitful and illulbry. Some are pleafing (but very little), 
as are the little bells and melodious inftruments of all forts, which 
only tickle the ear and do not touch the heart at all, confiding more 
in noife which amazes and ftuns than in harmony which pleafes and 
rejoices, the others difpleafing, full of deformity and horror, tending 
only to defolation, privation, ruin, and deftrudion, where the 
perfons become brutifh and transformed to beafts,Iofing their fpeech 
while they are in this condition, and the beafts,on the contrary, talk, 

' Sur quov elle adjoulle une chofe notable, que bien ibuvent il luy taifoit bailer Ion 
viiage, puis le nombril, puis le membre viril, puis Ton derriere. De Lancre, De 
P InconJJance, p. 72. 

2 Le Sabbat eft. comme une foire de marchands meflez, furieux et tranlportez, qui 
arrivent de toutes parts, un rencontre et meflange de cent mille fubjefts foudains et 
tranfitoires, nouveaux a la verite, mais d'une nouveaute effroyable qui offence I'ocil 
et foubfleve le coeur. Parmy ces mefmes fubjefts il s'en voit de reels, et d'autres 
prelligieux et illulbires : aucuns plaifans (mais fortpeu), comme font les clochettes et 
inftrumens melodieux qu'on y entend de toutes fortes, qui ne chatouillcnt que I'oreille, 
et ne touchent rien au coeur : confiftant plus en bruit qui eftourdit et eftonne, qu'en 
harmonic qui plaife et qui resjouiile ; les autres deplailans, pleins de difformite et 
d'horreur, ne tendant qu'a diflblution, privation, ruine, et deftrudion, ou les per- 


and feem to have more reafon than the perfons, each being drawn 
out of his natural characfler." 

The women, according to De Lancre, were the aftive agents in 
all this confufion, and had more employment than the men. They 
rufhed about with their hair hanging loofe, and their bodies naked; 
fome rubbed with the magical ointment, others not. They arrived 
at the Sabbath, or went from it, on their errands of mifchief, perched 
on a ftick or befom, or carried upon a goat or other animal, with 
an infant or two behind, and guided or driven on by the devil him- 
felf. "And when Satan will tranfport them into the air (which 
is an indulgence only to the moft fuperior), he fets them off and 
launches them up like fired rockets, and they repair to and dart 
down upon the faid place a hundred times more rapidly than an 
eagle or a kite could dart upon its prey." 

Thefe women, on their arrival, reported to Satan all the mifchief 
they had perpetrated. Poifon, of all kinds and for all purpofes, was 
there the article moft in vogue. Toads were faid to form one of 
its ingredients, and the charge of thefe animals, while alive, was 

fonnes s'y abbrutiflent et transforment en belles, perdant la parole tant qu'elles font 
ainfi. Et les bettes au contraire y parlent, et femblent avoir plus de raifon que les 
perfonnes, chacun ellant tire hors fon naturel. 

Les courriers ordinaires du fabbat font les femmes, les myfteres duquel paffent par 
leurs mains, [plus] que par celles des homines. Or elles volent et courent efchevelees 
comme furies a la mode du pays, ayant la telle fi legere, qu'elles n'y peuvent foufFrir 
couverture. On les y voit nues, ores graiflees, ores non. Elles arrivent ou partent 
(car chacune a quelque infaufte et mefchante commiffion) perchees fur un bailon ou 
balay, ou portees fur un bouc ou autre animal, un pauvre enfant ou deux en croupe, 
ayant le diable ores au devant pour guide, ores en derriere et en queue comme un 
rude foueteur. Et lorfque Sathan les veut tranfporter en I'air (ce qui n'eil encor 
donne qu'aux plus fuffifantes), il les effore et eflance comme fufees bruiantes, et en la 
defcente elles fe rendent audit lieu et fondent bas, cent fois plus viile quun aigle ou 
un milan ne fgauroit fondre fur fa proye. 

Ces turieufes courrieres ne portent jamais que fmiilres nouvelles, mais vrayes, car 
elles ne contiennent que I'hiiloire veritable des maux qu'elles ont faid. Le poifon, de 


given to the children whom the witches brought with them to the 
Sabbath, and to whom, as a fort of enfign of office, little white rods 
were given, "juft fuch as they give to perfons infeded with the 
plague as a mark of their contagion." 

The devil was the fovereign mafter of the aflembly, and appeared 
at it fometimes in the form of a ftinking and bearded goat, as one, 
I3e Lancre fays, which was efpecially repulfive to mankind. The 
goat, we know, was dedicated to Priapus. Sometimes he aflumed 
a form, if we clearly underftand De Lancre, which prefented a con- 
fufed idea of fomethiilg between a tree and a man, which is com- 
pared, for he becomes rather poetical, to the old decayed cyprefles 
on the fummit of a high mountain, or to aged oaks whofe heads 
already bear the marks of approaching decay. 

When the devil appeared in human form, that form was horribly 
ugly and repulfive, with a hoarfe voice and an imperious manner. 
He was feated in a pulpit, which glittered like gold; and at his 

toutes fortes et a tous ufages, eft la plus precieufe denree de ce lieu. Les enfans font 

les bergers, qui gardent chacun la bergerie des crapaux, que chaquc forciere qui les 
niene au fabbat leur a bailie a garder, ayant chacun une gaule blanche en main ; 
telle qu'on bailie aux peltiterez pour marque de leur contagion. 

Le diable, maillre fouverain de I'affemblee, s'y reprefente parfois en bouc puant 
et barbu : la plus horrible et orde figure qu'il a peu emprunter parmy tous animaux, 
et celuy avec lequel I'homme a le moins de commerce. II s'y trouve et s'y void 
quelque fois en tronc d'arbre efpouvantable en forme d'homme fombre et monilrueux: 
comme font ces vieux cypres furannez a la cime d'une haute montagne, ou ces 
chefnes chauves que la vieillelfe faid commencer a fecher par la tefte, vrayement tronc, 
car il y paroill efcartelle, et comme ellropiat, et fans brai', et en figure d'un geant 
tenebreux et objeft fort recule. 

Que s'il y paroift en homme, c'eft en homme gehenne, tourmente, rouge et 
flamboyant comme un feu qui fort d'une fournaife ardente. Homme efface, duquel 
la forme ne paroill qu'a demy, avec une voix calfe, morfondue, et non articulee, 
mais imperieufe, bruiante, et efFroyable. Si bien qu'on ne fijauroit bonnement dire 
a le voir s'il ell homme, tronc, ou befte. II ell aftis dans une chaire, doree en appa- 
rence, mais flamboiante : la royne du fabbat a fon colle, qui ell quelque forciere qu'il 


fide fat the queen of the Sabbath, one of the witches whom 
he had debauched, to whom he chofe to give greater honour 
than to the others, and whom he decked in gay robes, with a crown 
on her head, to ferve as a bait to the ambition of the reft. Candles 
of pitch, or torches, yielded a falfe light, which gave people in ap- 
pearance monftrous forms and frightful faces. 

Here you fee falfe fires, through which fome of the demons were 
firft pafied, and afterwards the witches, without fufferingany pain, 
which, as explained by De Lancre, was intended to teach them not 
to fear the fire of hell. But we fee in thefe the need-fires, which 
formed a part of the priapic orgies, and of which we have fpoken 
before (p. 163). There women are prefenting to him children, 
whom they have initiated in forcery, and he fhows them a deep pit, 
into which he threatens to throw them if they refufe to renounce 
God and to adore Satan. 

In other parts are feen great cauldrons, full of toads and vipers, 
hearts of unbaptized children, flefh of criminals who had been 
hanged, and other difgufting ingredients, of which they make pots 
of ointments, &c. and poifons, the ordinary articles of commerce 

a debauchee, laquelle il faift paroiftre pompeufe, ornee de pluiieurs faux affiquets, et 
couronnee en royne, pour amorcer les autres. Donnant auffi une forme affreufe, 
prefque a tous ceux qui sont en cette alTemblee maudite, les vifages defquels, a la fauce 
lumiere de ces chandeles de poix qui s'y voyent, paroiffent tenebreux, farouches, ou 
voilez : et les perfonnes de taille et hauteur monftrueufe, ou de baffefle extraordinaire 
et deffeftueufe. 

On y voit de faux feux, au travers defquels il faift paffer quelques demons, puis 
des forcieres, d'ou il les tire fans douleur pour les apprivoifer a ne craindre les feux 
de notre juftice en ce monde, n'y les feux eternels de la jullice divine en I'autre. 
Ou luy offre def enfans innocens enforcellez par de mechantes femmes, aufquels il 
reprefente des abyfmes dans lefquels il faift femblant de les precipiter, s'ils font tant 
foit peu les rellifs a renoncer Dieu et a I'adorer. 

On y voit de grandes chaudieres pleines de crapaux et viperes, coeurs d'enfans non 
baptifez, chair de pendus, et autres horribles charognes, et des eaux puantes, pots de 
graifle et de poifon qui fe preile et fe debite a cette foire, comme ellant la plus pre- 


ill this " fair." Of fuch obje<5ls, alfo, were compofed the difhes 
fervcd at the Sabbath tables, at which no fait was allowed, becaufc 
Satan wiflied everything to be infipid, mufty, and bad-tafted. 

Here we fee people " dancing, either ' in long,' in couples, turned 
back to back, or fometimes ' in round,' all turning their backs 
towards the centre of the dance, the girls and women each holding 
by the hand their demons, who teach them movements and gcftures 
fo lafcivious and indecent that they would horrify the moft fhame- 
lefs woman in the world ; with fongs of acompofition fo brutal, and 
in terms and words of fuch licence and lubricity, that the eyes be- 
come troubled, the ears confounded, and the underftanding be- 
witched, at the appearance of fo many monftrous things all crowded 

" The women and girls with whom the demons choofe to have 
connexion are covered with a cloud, to conceal the execrations and 
ordures attached to thefe fcenes, and to prevent the compaflton 
which others might have on the fcreams and fufferings of thefe poor 
wretches." In order to " mix impiety with the other abomina- 
tions," they pretended to perform religious rites, which were a wild 

cieiife et commune marchandife qui s'y trouve. Et neantmoins ce font les meilleures 
viandes qu'on rencontre en leurs feftins, defquels ils ont banni le iel, parceque Sathan 
vcut que tout y foit infipide, relant, et de gouil deprave. 

On y dance en long, deux a deux, et dos a dos, et parfois en rond, tous le dos 
tourne vers le centre de la dance, les fiUes et femmcs tenant chacune leurs demons 
par la main, lesquels leur apprennent des traifts et gelles fi laicifs et indecens, qu'ils 
feroyent horreur a la plus efFrontec femme du monde ; avec des chanfons d'une 
compofition fi brutale, et en termes et mots fi licencieux et lubriques, que les yeux le 
troublent, les oreilles s'eftourdifTent, et I'entendement s'cnchante, dc voir tant de 
chofes monllrueuies qui s'y rencontrent a la fois. 

Les femmcs et filles avec lefquelles i! fe veut accoupler, Ibnt couvcrtcs d'une 
nuee, pour cacher les execrations et ordures qui s'y trouvent, et pour olkr la com- 
paflion qu'on pourroit avoir des cris et douleurs de ccs pauvres milerables. Et 
voulant meder I'impicte avec I'abomination du fortilcge, pour leur faire paroitlre 
qu'il veut qu'elles vivent avec quelque forme de religion, le fervice ou culte divin. 


and contemptuous parody on the catholic mafs. An altar was 
raifed, and a prieft confecrated and adminiftered the hoft, but it was 
made of fome difgufting fubftance, and the prieft ftood with his head 
downwards and his legs in the air, and with his back turned to the 
altar. Thus all things were performed in monftrous or difgufting 
forms, fo that Satan himfelf appeared almoft afhamed of them. 

De Lancre acknowledges that there was fome diverfity in the 
manner of the proceedings of the Sabbath in different countries, 
arifing from difference in the character of the locality, in the 
"mafter" who prefided, and in the various humours of thofe who 
attended. " But all well confidered, there is a general agreement 
on the principal and moft important of the more ferious ceremonies. 
"Wherefore, I will relate what we have learnt by our trials, and I will 
fimply repeat what fome notable witches depofed before us, as well 
as to the formalities of the Sabbath, as to all that was ufually feen 

qu'il s'eflaye de contrefaire ou reprefenter, eft fi fauvage et deregle, et hors de tout 
fens commun, que le faux facrificateur ayant drefle quelque autel, faift femblant d'y 
dire quelque forme de mefle, pour fe moquer des chreftiens : Et y faift paroiftre 
quelque hoftie, faidle de quelque puante matiere noire et enfuinee, ou il eft peint en 
bouc. Ce faux preftre a la tefte en has, et les pieds contremont, et le dos ignomini- 
eufement tourne vers I'autel. Enfin on y voit en chaque chofe ou aftion des repre- 
fentations fi formidables, tant d'abominables objefts, et tant de forfaidls et crimes 
execrables, que I'air s'infefteroit fi je les vouloy exprimer plus au long : Etpeuton 
dire fans mentir, que Satan mefme a quelque horreur de les commettre. Car outre la 
nuee de la quelle il voile fes accouplemens, il tient les enfans efloignez, de peur de 
les rebutter pour jamais par 1' horrible veue de tant de chofes. Et plufieurs per- 
fonnes voilees, pour tenir mine de grandeur, afin qu'on ne les voye rougir ni paflir de 
la grandeur de cent mille maux, qu'on y voit commettre a tous momens. 

A la vcrite la defcription du fabbat qui fe faift en diverfes contrees femble eftre un 
peu diverfe. La diverfite des lieux ou il fe tient, du maiftre qui y prefide, tout divers 
et tout variable, et les diverfes humeurs de ceux qui y font appellez, font la diverfite. 
Mais tout bien confidere on eft d'accord pour le principal et pour le plus important 
des ceremonies plus ferieufes. C'eft pourquoy je raporteray ce que nous avons 
apprins par nos procedures, et diray fimplement ce que quelques notables forcieres en 
ont depofe devant nous, tant fur la forme du fabbat que fur tout ce qu'on a accouf- 


there, without changing or altering anything in what they depofed, 
in order that every one may feled: what he likes." 

The firft witnefs adduced by De Lancre is not one belonging to 
his own time, but dating back as far as the i 8th of December, i 567, 
and he had obtained a copy of the confeffion. Eftcbene de Cambrue, 
of the parifh of Amou, a woman twenty-five years of age, faid that 
the great Sabbath was held four times a year, in derifion of the four 
annual feftivals of the Church. The little affemblies, which were 
held in the neighbourhood of the towns or parifhes, were attended 
only by thofe of the locality; they were called "paftimes," and were 
held fometimes in one place and fometimes in another, and there 
they only danced and frolicked, for thedevil didnotcomethere in all 
his ftate as at the great affemblies. They were, in fadl, the greater 
and lefTer Priapeia. She faid that the place of the grand convoca- 
tion was generally called the " Lanne de Bouc" (the goat's heath), 
where they danced round a flone, which was planted in the faid 
place, (perhaps one of the fo-called Druidical monuments,) upon 
which was feated a great black man, whom they called " Mon- 
fieur." Each perfon prefent kiffed this black man on the pofleriors. 

tume d'y voir, fans rien changer n'v alterer de leur depofition, afin que chacun en 
prenne ce qu'il luy plaira. 

Je commenceray par une fort ancienne depofition que j'ay trouvee puis peu de 
jours, d'une Eftebene de Cambrue, aagee de 25 ans, de la paroifTe d'Amou, du 18 
Decembre 1567, qui marque que deflors cette pauvre parroifle en eftoit deja 
infeftee: qui dift que les forcieres n'alloient en la grande aflemblee et au grand 
Sabbat que quatre fois I'annee, en derifion des ceremonies que I'eglife celebre 
les quatre felles annuelles. Car les petites aflemblees qui fe font pres des villes 
ou parroifTes, ou il n'y va que ceux du lieu, ils les appcllent les efbats, et fe font 
ores en un lieu de ladite parroifle, ores en un autre, ou on ne faift que fauter et 
folaftrcr, le diable n'y eflant avec tout fon grand arroy, comme au.v grandes aflem- 
blees. Que le lieu de ceflc grande convocation s'appelle gencralcmcnt par tout 
le pays la Lanne du Bouc. Ou ils i"c mettent a dancer a I'cntour d'une picrre, 
qui eft plantee audit lieu, fur laquelle eft aflis un grand homme noir, qu'elles 

G G 


She faid that they were carried to that place on an animal which 
fometimes refembled a horfe and at others a man, and they never 
rode on the animal more than four at a time. When arrived at 
the Sabbath, they denied God, the Virgin, "and the reft," and 
took Satan for their father and protedor, and the fhe-devil for 
their mother. This witnefs defcribed the making and fale of 
poifons. She faid that fhe had feen at the Sabbath a notary, 
whofe name fhe gave, whofe bufinefs it was to denounce thofe who 
failed in attendance. When on their way to the Sabbath, however 
hard it might rain, they were never wet, provided they uttered the 
words, //aut la coude^ ^illet^ becaufe then the tail of the beaft on 
which they were mounted covered them fo well that they were 
fheltered from the rain. When they had to make a long journey 
they faid thefe words : Pic fuber hoeilhe^ en ta la lane de bouc bien 

A man feventy-three years of age, named Petri Daguerre, was 
brought before De Lancreand his fellow commiffioners at Uftarits; 
two witnefTes aflerted that he held the office of mafter of the cere- 

appellent Monfieur, et chacun de rafTemblee luy va baifer le derriere. Et fe font 
porter jufqu' audit lieu, fur une belle, qui femble parfois un cheval, et parfoys 
un homme ; et ne montent jamais plus haut de quatre fur ces montures qui 
portent ainfi au Sabbat. La ils renient Dieu, la Vierge, et le refle, et prennent 
Satan pour leur pere et protefteur, et la diablefle pour leur mere. Qu'aucuns font la 
du poifon, defquels les autres le vent acheter, lequel eft fai£l de crapaux, avec une 
langue de boeuf ou vache, et une chevre et des oeufs couvez et pourris, et de la 
cervelle d'enfant, et le mettent cuire dans un pot. Di£l qu'elle a veu au Sabbat un 
notaire qu'elle nomme, lequel a accouftume de lever les defauts de celles qui ont 
manque de fe trouver au Sabbat, et dift qu'encore qu'il pleuft a pleins feaux, lorfqu'on 
eft en chemin pour y aller, on ne fe moiiille point, pourveu qu'on die ces mots, 
Haut la coude, fillet, parce qu'alors la queue de la befte fur laquelle ils vont au 
Sabbat les couvre fi bien, qu'ils ne fe moiiillent point. Et quand ils font un long 
chemin, ils difent tels mots: Pic fuber hoeilhe, en ta la lane de bouc bien ni arrecoueille. 
En la procedure d'Uftarits, qui eft le fiege de la juftice de Labourt, faifant le procez 
a Petri Daguerre, aage de feptante trois ans, lequel depuis a efte execute a mort 


monies and governor of the Sabbath, and that the devil gave him 
a gilt ftaff, which he carried in his hand as a mark of authority, 
and arranged and direded the proceedings. He returned the ftafF 
to Satan at the clofe of the meeting. 

One Leger RivafTeau confefled that he had been at the Sabbath 
twice without adoring the devil, or doing any of the things required 
from the others, because it was part of his bargain, for he had 
given the half of his left foot for the faculty of curing, and the 
right of being prefent at the Sabbath without further obligation. 
He faid " that the Sabbath was held about midnight, at a meeting 
ofcrofs roads, moft frequently on the nights of Wednefday and 
Friday; that the devil chofe in preference the ftormieft nights, in 
order that the winds and troubled elements might carry their 
powders farther and more impetuoufly ; that two notable devils 
prefided at their Sabbaths, the great negro, whom they called 
mafter Leonard, and another little devil, whom mafler Leonard at 
times fubftituted in his place, and whom they called mafher Jean 
Mullin ; that they adored the grand mafter, and that, after having 

comme infigne forcier, deux tefmoins luy maintindrent qu'il eftoit le maiftredes cere- 
monies et gouverneur du Sabbat. Que le Diable luy mettoit en main un bafton tout 
dore, avec lequel, comme un maillre de camp, il rengeoit et les perfonncs et toutes 
chofes au Sabbat : et qu'iceluy finy il rendoit ce ballon au grand maiilre de I'af- 

Leger Rivafl'eau confefl'a en la Cour qu'il avoit eile au Sabbat par deux fois, fans 
adorer le Diable ny faire comme les autres, parcequ'il avoit ainfi faift Ton pa6le avec 
luy, et bailie la moitie de Ion pied gauche pour avoir la faculte de guerir, et la liberte 
de voir le Sabbat fimplement fans eilre oblige a autre chofe. Et difoit que le Sabbat 
fe faifoit prefque tousjours environ la minuit, a un carrefour, le plus fouvent la nuirt 
du Mercredy et du Vendredy : que le diable cherchoit la nuid la plus orageufe qu'il 
pouvoit, afin quelesventset les orages portaflent plus loingetplus impetueufement leurs 
poudres ; que deux diables notables prefidoient en ces Sabbats, le grand Negre qu'on 
appelloit mairtre Leonard, et un autre petit diable que maiftre Leonard fubrogeoit quel- 
quefois en ia place, qu'ils appellent maiilre Jean Mullin; qu'on adoraitlegrand maiilre. 


kifled his pofteriors, there were about fixty of them dancing without 
drefs, back to back, each with a great cat attached to the tail of his 
or her fhirt, and that afterwards they danced naked ; that this 
mafter Leonard, taking the form of a black fox, hummed at the 
beginning a word ill articulated, after which they were all filent." 

Some of the witches examined fpoke of the delight with which 
they attended the Sabbath. Jeanne Dibaffbn, a woman twenty- 
nine years old, faid that the Sabbath was the true Paradife, where 
there was far more pleafure than can be exprefTed ; that thofe who 
went there found the time fo fhort by reafon of the pleafure and 
enjoyment, that they never left it without marvelous regret, fo 
that they looked forward with infinite impatience to the next 

Marie de la Ralde, " a very handfome woman twenty-eight years 
of age," who had then abandoned her connexion with the devil five 
or fix years, gave a full account of her experience of the Sabbath. 
She faid fhe had frequented the Sabbaths from the time fhe was ten 
years old, having been firfl; taken there by MarifTans, the wife of 
Sarrauch, and after her death the devil took her there himfelf 

et qu'apres qu'on luy avoit baife le derriere, ils eftoient environ foixantequi dangoient 
fans habits, dos-a-dos, chacun un grand chat attache a la queue de la chemife, puis 
ils dangoient tous nuds : que ce maiftre Leonard prenant la forme d'un renard noir 
bourdonnoitau commencement une parole mal articulee, et qu'apres cela tout le monde 
eftoit en filence 

Jeanne Dibaffon, aagee de vingt neuf ans, nous dift que le Sabbat eiloit le vray 
Paradis, oil il y a beaucoup plus de plaifir qu'on n'en peutexprimer : que ceux qui 
y vent trouvent le temps fi court, a force de plaifir et de contentment, qu'ils n'en 
peuvent sortir fans un merveilleux regret, demaniere qu'illeurtarde infiniment qu'ils 
n'y reviennent. 

Marie de la Ralde, aagee de vingt huidl ans, tres-belle femme, laquelle a qaitte cette 
abomination puis cinq ou fix ans, depofe qu'elle a efte forciere et frequente les Sabbats 
puis I'aage de dix ans, y ayant efte menee la premiere fois par Mariffans femme de 
Sarrauch, et apres fon decez le Diable I'ymenoit luy mefme. Que la premiere fois 


That the firft time fhe was there fhe faw the devil in the fhape of 
a trunk of a tree, without feet, but apparently fitting in a pulpit, 
with fome form of a human face, very obfcure ; but fince fhe had 
often feen him in man's form, fometimes red, fometimes black. 
That file had often feen him approach a hot iron to the children 
which were prefented to him, but fhe did not know if he marked 
them with it. That fhe had never kifTed him fince fhe had arrived 
at the age of knowledge, and does not know whether fhe had 
kifTed him before or not ; but file had feen how, when one went to 
adore him, he prefented fometimes his face to kifs, fometimes his 
pofleriors, as it pleafed him, and at his difcretion. That fhe had a 
fingular pleafure in going to the Sabbath, fo that every time fhe 
was fummoned to go there, fhe went as though it were to a wed- 
ding feafl ; not fo much for the liberty and licence they had there 
to have connexion with each other (which out of modefty fhe faid 
fhe had never done or feen done), but becaufe the devil had fo 
flrong a hold on their hearts and wills that it hardly allowed any 
other defire to enter. Befides that the witches believe they are 
going to a place where there are a hundred thoufand wonders 
and novelties to fee, and where they hear fo great a diverfity 

qu'elle y tut, elle y vit le Diable en forme de tronc d'arbre, fans pieds, qui fembloit 
ellre dans une chaire, avec qiielque forme de face humaine fort tenebreufe, mais depuis 
elle I'a veu fouvent en forme d'homme, tantot rouge, tantot noir: qu'elle la veu 
fouvent approcher un fer chaud pres des enfants qu'on luy prefentoit, mais qu'elle ne 
fgait s'il les marquoitavec cela. Qu'elle ne I'a jamais baife puis qu'elle ell en aage 
de cognoiflance, et ne f^ait fi auparavant elle I'avoit baife : bien a veu que comme on 
le va adorer, ores il leur prel'ente le vifage a baifer, ores le derriere, comme il luy 
plain, et a fa difcretion. Qu'elle avoit un fingulier plaifir d'aller au Sabbat, fi bien 
que quand on la venoit femondre d'y aller, elle y alloit comme a nopces : non pas 
tant pour la liberte et licence qu'on a de s'accointer enfemble (ce que par niodellie elle 
didt n'avoir jamais faitny veu faire), mais parce que le Diabletenoit tellement lies leurs 
coeurs et leurs volontez qu'a peine y laiflbit il entrer nul autre defir: Outre que les 
forcieres croyent aller en quelque lieu ou il y a cent mille choles ellranges et nouvelles 


of melodious inftruments that they are ravifhed, and believe them- 
felves to be in fome terreftrial paradife. Moreover the devil per- 
fuades them that the fear of hell, which is fo much apprehended, 
is a piece of folly, and gives them to underftand that the eternal 
punifhments will hurt them no more than a certain artificial fire 
which he caufes them craftily to light, and then makes them pafs 
through it and repafs without hurt. And more, that they fee there 
fo many priefts, their pallors, cures, vicars, and confelTors, and 
other people of quality of all forts, fo many heads of families, and 
fo many miftrefles of the principal houfes in the faid country, fo 
many people veiled, whom they confidered to be grandees, becaufe 
they concealed themfelves and wifhed to be unknown, that they 
believed and took it for a very great honour and good fortune to 
be received there. 

Marie d'Afpilcouette, a girl nineteen years old, who lived at 
Handaye,faid that fhe had frequented the Sabbath ever fince the age 
of feven, and that fhe was taken there the firft time by Catherine de 
Moleres, who had fince been executed to death for having caufed 
a man's death by forcery. She faid that it was now two years fince 

a voir, et y entendent tant de divers et melodieux inftruments qu'ellesfont ravies, et 
croyent eftre dans quelque Paradis terreftre. D'ailleurs que le Diable leur perfuade 
que la crainte de I'Enfer, qu'on apprehende fi fort, eft une niayferie, et leur donne a 
entendre que les peines eternelles ne les tourmenteront pas davantage, que certain feu 
artificiel qu'il leur faid cauteleufement allumer, par lequel il les faid pafter et repafler 
fans fouffrir aucu« mal. D'avantage qu'elles y voyent tant de preftres, leurs pafteurs, 
curez, vicaires, et confeffeurs, et autres gens de qualite de toute fortes, tant de chefs 
de famille et tant de maiftreffes des maifons principales dudi6t pais, tant de gens 
voilez, qu'elles prefuppofent grans parcequ'ils fe cachent et veulent eftre incognus, 
qu'elles croyent et prennent a tres grand honneur et a tiltre de bonne fortune d'y eftre 


Marie d'Afpilcouette, habitante de Handaye, aagee de dix neuf ans, dift 
qu'elle a frequente les Sabbats puis I'aage de fept ans, et qu'elle y fut conduitte la 
premiere fois par Catherine de Moleres qui a depuis efte executee a mort, luy ayant 
efte maintenu, qu'elle avoit charge le haut mal par fon feul attouchement a un tort 


fhe had withdrawn from her relations with Satan. That the devil 
appeared in the form of a goat, having a tail and under it the face of 
a black man, which fhewascompclled to kifs, and that this poftcrior 
face has not the power of fpeech, hut they were obliged to adore 
and kifs it. Afterwards the faid Moleres gave her {z\^\\ toads to 
keep. That the faid Moleres tranfported her through the air to 
the Sabbath, where fhe faw people dancing, with violins, trumpets, 
and tabors, which made a very great harmony. That in the faid 
aflemblies there was an extreme pleafure and enjoyment. 'Hiat 
they made love in full liberty before all the world. That fome 
were employed in cutting off the heads of toads, while others made 
poifon of them ; and that they made the poifon at home as well as 
at the Sabbath. 

After defcribing the different forts of poifons prepared on thefe 
occafions, De Lancre proceeds to report the teftimony of other 
witneffes to the details of the Sabbath.' Jeannette de Belloc, 
called Atfoua, a damfel of twenty-four years of age, faid that fhe 
had been made a witch in her childhood by a woman named Oylar- 
chahar, who took her for the firfl: time to the Sabbath, and there 
prefented her to the devil ; and after her death, Mary Martin, 

honnefte homme : que neantmoins il y a deux ans qu'elle s'eft retiree des liens de 
Satan, et qu'elle en a fecoiie le joug. Que le Diable eftoit en forme de bouc, ayant 
une queue et au deflbubs un vifage d'homme noir, ou elle fut contrainte le baifcr, ct 
n'a parole par ce vifage de derriere, qu'on luy fit adorer et baifer : puis ladifle 
Moleres luy donna fept crapuax a garder. Que la di£le Moleres la tranfportoit au 
Sabbat par I'air, ou elle voyoit dancer avec violons, trompettes, ou tabourins, qui 
rendoyent une tresgrande harmonic. Qu'cfdidcs aflemblecs y a un extreme plaifir ct 
resjouiflance. Qu'on y faift I'amour en toute liberie devant tout le monde. Que 
plufieurs s'emploient a couper la tefte a des crapaux, et lesautresaen faire du poifon: 
quon en faicft au logis auffi bien qu'au Sabbat. Tableau r hicon fiance, pp. I 19 ct 

^ Jeannette de Belloc difte Atfoua, fillc de 24 ans, nous di6l que puis fon bas aage 
elle avoit elle fai6le forciere par une fcmmc nommcc Oylarchahar, laqucllc la mcna 
au Sabbat la premiere fois, et la prefenta au Diable, ct aprcs fon decez, Marie Martin, 


lady of the houfe of Adamechorena, took her place. About the 
month of February, 1609, Jeannette confefTed to a prieft who was 
the nephew of madame Martin, who went to his aunt and merely 
enjoined her not to take the girl to the Sabbath any more. Jean- 
nette faid that at the folemn feftivals all kifTed the devil's pofteriors 
except the notable witches, who kifTed him in the face. According 
to her account, the children, at the age of two or three years, or as 
foon as they could fpeak, were made to renounce Jefus Chrift, the 
Virgin Mary, their baptifm, &c. and from that moment they were 
taught to worfhip the devil. She defcribed the Sabbath as refemb- 
ling a fair, well fupplied with all forts of objeds, in which fome 
walked about in their own form, and others were transformed, fhe 
knew not how, into dogs, cats, affes, horfes, pigs, and other ani- 
mals. The little boys and girls kept the herds of the Sabbath, con- 
fifting of a world of toads near a ftream, with fmall white rods, 
and were not allowed to approach the great mafs of the witches ; 
while others, of more advanced age, who were not objefts of fuffi- 
cient refpect, were kept apart in a fort of apprenticefhip, during 

dame de la maifon d' Adamechorena, print fa place. Et d'autant qu'environ le mois 
de Febvrier 1609, elle s'alla confelTer a maiftre Jean de Horroufteguy, prieur de 
Soubernoue, nepveu de ladidle Martin, il enjoignit a fa tante de la laiffer en paix et 
ne la mener plus au Sabbat. Qu'es feftes folemnelles on baifoit le Diable au 
derriere, mais les notables forcieres le baifoient au vifage. Que les enfans environ 
I'aage de deux ou trois ans, et puis qu'ils f9avent parler, font la renonciation a Jefus- 
Chrifl, a la Sainfte Vierge, a leur Baptefme, et a tout le refle, et commencent des lors 
a prendre habitude a recognoiftre et adorer le Diable. Didl que le Sabbat eft comme 
une foire celebre de toutes fortes de chofes, en laquelle aucuns fe promenent en leur 
propre forme, et d'autres font transformez, ne fijayt pourquoy, en chiens, en chats, 
afnes, chevanx, pourceaux, et autres animaux : les petits enfans et filles gardent 
les troupeaux du Sabbat, qui font un monde de crapaux, pres d'un ruifleau avec 
des petites gaules blanches qu'on leur donne, fans les laiffer approcher du gros 
des autres forciers : les mediocres et ceux qui font de bon aage parmy eux, on 
leur permet fimplement de voir, et leur en donne-on le plaifir et I'eftonnement, les 
tenant comme en apprentiffage. Pour les autres il y en a de deux fortes ; aucuns 


which they were only allowed to look on at the proceedings of the 
others. Of thefe there were two forts; fome were veiled, to make 
the poorer clafles believe that they were people of rank and dif- 
tindlion, and that they did not wifh themfelves to be known in fuch 
a place; others were uncovered, and openly danced, had fexual 
intercourfe, made the poifons, and performed their other diabolical 
functions; and thefe were not allowed to approach fo near " the 
mafter" as thofe who were veiled. The holy water ufed at the 
Sabbath was the devil's urine. She pointed out two of the accufed 
whom fhe had feen at the Sabbath playing upon the tabor and 
the violin. She fpoke of the numbers who were feen arriving 
and departing continually, the latter to do evil, the former to 
report what they had done. They went out at fea, even as far as 
Newfoundland, where their hufhands and fons went to fifh, in 
order to raife ftorms, and endanger their fhips. This deponent 
fpoke alfo of the fires at the Sabbath, into which the witches were 

font voilez pour donner opinion aux pauvres que ce font des princes et grands 
feigneurs, et qu'aucun d'eux n'ayt horreur d'y eilre et faire ce qu'ils font en adorant 
le diable. . . Lesautres font decoufverts et tout ouvertement dancent, s'accouplent, 
font du poifon, et autres fonftions diaboliques, et ceux cy ne font fi pres du maiilre, 
fi favoris, ne fi employez. lis baillent I'afperges de I'urine du Diable. lis v vont a 
I'ofFrande, et y a veu tenir le baffin a un Efteben Detzail, lors prifonnier: et difoit-on 
qu'il s'en eiloit enrichy. Qu'elle y a veu jouer du tabourin a Anfugarlo de Han- 
daye, lequel a depuis efte execute a mort comme infigne forcier, et du violon a 
Gallelloue. Elle nous difoit qu'on eufl veu defloger du Sabbat et voler Tune en 
Fair, I'autre monter plus haut vers le ciel, I'autre defcendre vers la terre, et I'autre 
parfois fe precipiter dans les grands feux allumez audit lieu, comme fuzees qui font 
jettees par plufieurs, ou comme efclairs : I'une arrive, I'autre part, et tout a un coup 
plufieurspartent, plufieurs arrivent, chacunerendant comptedes vents et orages qu'elle 
a excite, des navires et vaiffeaux qu'elle a fait perdre : et s'en vont de Labourt, 
Siboro, etS. Jean de Luz, jufques k Arcachon, qui ell une des telles de I'Ocean, aufli 
I'appellent ils la telle de Buch, aflcs pres de Bourdeaux, et en Terre-neuve, parce- 
qu'elles y voyent leurs peres, leurs maris, leurs enfans, et d'autres parens, et que c'ell 
leur voyage ordinaire, mefme en a veu plufieurs qui notoiremcnt font en Tcrrc-neuve 

H H 


thrown without fuftaining any hurt. She had feen the frequenters 
of the Sabbath make themfelves appear as big as houfes, but fhe had 
never feen them transform themfelves into animals, although there 
were animals of different kinds running about at the Sabbath. 

Jeanette d'Abadie, an inhabitant of Siboro, of the age of fix- 
teen, faid that fhe was taken for the firft time to the Sabbath by a 
woman named Gratianne; that for the laft nine months fhe had 
watched and done all fhe could to withdraw herfelf from this evil 
influence ; that during the firfl: three of thefe months, becaufe fhe 
watched at home by night, the devil carried her away to the Sab- 
bath in open day; and during the other fix, until the i6th of 
September, 1609, fiie had only gone to them twice, becaufe fhe 
had watched, and fl:ill watches in the church; and that the lafl: time 
fhe was there was the 13th of September, 1609, which fhe narrated 
in a " bizarre and very terrible manner." It appears that, having 
watched in the church of Siboro during the night between Saturday 
and Sunday, at daybreak fhe went to fleep at home, and, during 
the time of the grand mafs, the devil came to her and fnatched 

qu'elles menoyent au Sabbat Quant a la transformation, dift qu' encore que 

parfois elles fi faflent voir hautes comme une maifon, pourtant elle n'a jamais veu 
aucune d' elles fe transformer en befte en fa prefence, mais feulement certaines belles 
courir par le Sabbat, et devenir grandes et petites, mais fi foudainement qu'elle n'en 
a jamais pu decouvrir la fagon. En voycy une plus fgavante. 

Jeannetted'Abadie, habitantede Siboro, aagee de feize ans, depofe qu'elle futmenee 
la premiere fois au Sabbat par une nommee Gratianne : qu'il y a environ neuf mois 
qu'elle veille et faift tout ce qu'elle peut pour fe remedier : que puis les trois premiers 
mois defdifts neuf,parce qu'elle veilloitla nuit chez elle,le Diable la menoit tousjours au 
Sabbat de plain jour : et les fix mois reftans jufque au 16 Septembre 1609, elle n'y eft 
allee que deux fois, parce qu'elle a veille et veille encore dans I'eglife : et la derniere fois 
qu'elle y a efte, ce fut le i 3 de Septembre 1609, ce qu'elle conte d'une bizarre et bien 
terrible fagon. Car elle dift qu'ayant veille dans I'eglife de Siboro, la nuift du Samedy 
venant au Dimanche, le jour venu, elle s'en alia dormir chez elle, et pendant qu'on 
difoit la grande Mefle, le Diable lui vint arracher un Higo de cuir qu'elle portoit au 
col, comme font uue infinite d'autres ; qui eft une forme de main au point ferre, le 


from her neck a " fig of leather which (lie wore there, as an 
infinity of other people did ;" this higo^ or fig, fhe defcribed as 
" a form of hand, with the fift clofed, and the thumb pafled between 
the two fingers, which they believe to be, and wear as, a remedy 
againll: all enchantment and witchcraft; and, becaufe the devil 
cannot bear this fift, fhe faid that he did not dare to carrv it away, 
but left it at the threfhold of the door of the room' in which fhe 
was deeping." This Jeanette faid, that the firft time fhe went to 
the Sabbath fhe faw there the devil in the form of a man, black 
and hideous, with fix horns on his head, and fometimes eight, and 
a great tail behind, one face in front and another at the back of the 
head, as they paint the god Jan-us. Gratianne, on prefenting her, 
received as her reward a handful of gold ; and then the child- 
vidim was made to renounce her Creator, the Virgin, the baptifm, 
father, mother, relatives, heaven, earth, and all that was in the 
world, and then fhe was required to kifs the fiend on the pofleriors. 
The renunciation fhe was obliged to repeat every time fhe went to 
the Sabbath. She added that the devil often made her kifs his 
face, his navel, his member, and his pofteriors. She had often {^^w 
the children of witches baptized at the Sabbath. 

poulce palTe entre lesdeux doigts, qu'elles croyent et portent comme remede a toute 
fafcination et Ibrtilege : et parce que le Diable ne peut fouifrir ce poignet, elle dift 
qu'il ne I'ofa emporter, ains le laifla prcs du fueil de la porte de la chambre dans la- 
quelle elle dormoit. En revenant au commencement et a la premiere entree qu'elle 
fut au Sahbat, elle dit qu'elle y vid le Diable en forme d'homme noir ethideux,avec 
fix cornes en la telle, parfois huift, et une grande queue derriere, un vifage devant et 
un autre derriere la telle, comme on peint le dieu Janus: que la difte Gratianne, 
I'ayant prefentee, receut une poignee d'or en recompenfe, puis la fit renoncer et renier 
fon Createur, la Sainfte Vierge, lesSainfts, le Baptefme, pere, mere, parens, Ic ciel, 
la terre, et tout ce qui ell au mondc, laquelle renonciation il luy faifoit renouvcller 
toutes les fois qu'elle alloit au Sabbat, puis elle I'alloit bailer au derriere. Que le 
Diable luv faifoit baifer fouvent fon vifage, puis fon nombril, puis fon mcmbre, puis 
fon erriere. Qu'elle a veu fouvent baptifer des enfans au Sabbat, qu'elle nous expli- 


Another ceremony was that of baptizing toads. Thefe animals 
perform a great part in thefe old popular orgies. At one of the 
Sabbaths, a lady danced with four toads on her perfon, one on each 
fhoulder, and one on each wrift, the latter perched like hawks. 
Jeanette d'Abadie went on further in her revelations in regard to 
ftill more objeftionable parts of the proceedings. She faid that/ 
with regard to their libidinous ads, fhe had feen the aflembly inter- 
mix inceftuoufly, and contrary to all order of nature, accufing even 
herfelf of having been robbed of her maidenhead by Satan, and of 
having been known an infinite number of times by a relation of 
hers, and by others, whoever would aik her. She always fought to 
avoid the embraces of the devil, becaufe it caufed her an extreme 
pain, and fhe added that what came from him was cold, and never 
produced pregnancy. Nobody ever became pregnant at the Sab- 
bath. Away from the Sabbath, fhe never committed a fault, but 
in the Sabbath fhe took a marvellous pleafure in thefe adis of 
fexual intercourfe, which fhe difplayed by dwelling on the defcrip- 
tion of them with a minutenefs of detail, and language of fuch 
obfcenity, as would have drawn a blufh from the moft depraved 
woman in the world. She defcribed alfo the tables covered in 

qua eftre des enfans des forcieres et non autres, lefquelles ont accouftume faire pluftot 
baptifer leurs enfans au Sabbat, qu'en I'eglise, et les prefenter au Diable pluftoft qu'a 
Dieu. De P Inconjlance des Mauvais Anges, p. 128. 

1 Pour I'accouplement, qu' elle a veu tout le monde fe mefler inceflueufement et contre 
tout ordre de nature, comme nous avons didl cy devant, s'accufant elle mefme d'avoir 
efte depucellee par Satan et cognue une infinite de fois par un fien parent et autres 
qui Ten daignoient femondre : qu'elle fuyoit I'accouplement du Diable, a caufe 
qu'ayant Ton membre faift en efcailles, il fait foufFrir une extrefme douleur : outre que 
la femence eft extremement froide, fi bien qu'elle n'engroffe jamais, ni celle des 
autres hommes au Sabbat, bien qu'elle foit naturelle : Que hors du Sabbat elle ne fit 
jamais faute, mais que dans le Sabbat elle avoit un merveilleux plaifir en ces accou- 
plemens autres que celui de Sathan, qu'elle difoit eftre horrible, voire elle nous 
tefmoignoit un merveilleux plaifir a le dire, et le conter, nommant toutes chofes par 


appearance with provifions, which, however, proved either unfub- 
ftantial or of a difgufting nature. 

This witnefs further declared that fhe had feen at the Sabbath a 
number of little demons without arms, who were employed in 
kindling a great fire, into which they threw the witches, who came 
out without being burnt ; and fhe had alfo feen the grand mafter 
of the aflembly throw himfelf into a fire, and remain there until he 
was burnt to powder, which powder was ufed by the witches to 
bewitch young children, and caufe them to go willingly to the 
Sabbath. She had feen priefts who were well-known, and gave the 
names of fome of them, performing the fervice of the mafs at the 
Sabbath, while the demons took their places on the altar in the 
forms of faints. Sometimes the devil pierced the left foot of a 
forcerer under the little toe, and drew blood, which he fucked, and 

leur nom plus librement et efFrontement que nous ne luy ofions faire demander, 
chofe qui conlirme merveillcufement la realite du Sabbat. Car il ell plus vrav- 
femblable qu'elle fe foit accouplee au Sabbat avec des gens qu'elle nommoit, que non, 
que Satan les y ait fai6l voir dans Ton lift par illufion, ou qu'il les luy ait portez cor- 
porellement : n'ayant peu fentir cent fois (comme elle di6l) cette femence naturelle que 
s'accouplant corporellement et reellementavecun homme naturel qu'elle nousa nomme 
qui eft encore vivant. Qu'elle y a veu des tables drefl'ees avec forces vivres, mais 
quand on en vouloit prendre on ne trouvoit rien foubs la main, fauf quand on y avoit 
porte des enfans baptifcz ou non baptifez, car de ces deux elle en avoit veu fort fouvent 
fervir et manger : mefme un qu'on tenait eftre fils de maiftre de Lafle. Qu'on les 
coupe a quartiers au Sabbat pour en faire part a plufieurs parroilfes. 

D'avantage dift qu'elle a veu plufieurs petits demons fans bras, allumer un grand feu, 
jetter des forcieres du fabbat la dedans, et, les retirant fans doaleur, le Diable leur dire 
qu'elles n'auroient non plus de mal du feu d'Enfer. Qu'elle a veu le grand maiilrc de 
I'aflemblee fe jetter dans les flammes au Sabbat, fe faire brufler jufques a ce qu'il eftoit 
reduit en poudre, et les grandes et infignes forcieres prendre les dites poudres pour 
enforceler les petits enfants et les mener au Sabbat, et en prenoient aufll dans la 
bouche pour ne reveler jamais; et a veu pareillement ce mauvais demon au Sabbat 
fe reduire tout en menus vers. Qu'elle a ouy dire fouvent melfe a quelques preftrcs 
et entre autres a Migualena et Bocal, veftus de rouge et de blanc : que le maiftre de 
I'aflemblee et autres petits demons eftoient fur I'autel en forme de fainfts : que pour 


after this that individual could never be drawn to make a confef- 
fion ; and fhe named, as an example, a prieft named Frangois de 
Bideguaray, of Bordegaina, who, in faft, could not be made to 
confefs. She named many other perfons whom fhe had feen at the 
Sabbaths, and efpecially one named Anduitze, whofe office it was 
to fummon the witches and forcerers to the meeting. 

De Lancre fays that many others, in their depofitions, fpoke of 
k the extreme pleafures and enjoyments experienced in thefe Sab- 
baths, which made men and women repair to them with the greateft 
eagernefs. " The woman indulged before the face of her hufband 
without fufpicion or jealoufy, he even frequently aded the part of 
procurer ; the father deprived his daughter of her virginity without 
fhame; the mother afted the fame part towards her fon; the brother 
towards his fifter ; fathers and mothers carried thither and pre- 
fented their children." 

aller au Sabbat elle ne laiffoit d'aller a I'eglife, mais elle trembloit quand elle y 
voyoit faire I'eflevation, et tremble encore toutes les fois qu'elle la voit. Et quand 
elle fe veut approcher du crucifix, pour luy baifer les pieds, elle devient tout efperdue 
et troublee, fans fgavoir quelle priere elle fait, parcequ'elle voit en mefme inftant 
comme une perfonne noire et hideufe qui ell tout au bas et au delfoubs des pieds 
dudift crucifix, qui faift contenance de I'en empefcher. Quant aux forciers qui 
ne confelfent ny a la torture ny au fupplice, elle didl avoir veu que le Diable leur perce 
le pied gauche avec un poingon et leur tire un peu de fang au deflbubs du petit doigt 
dudift pied gauche, lequel fang il fucce, et celuy la ne confeffe jamais chofe qui con- 
cerne le fortilege : ce qu'elle a veu pratiquer en la perfonne de maiflre Francois de 
Bideguaray, preftre au lieu appelle a Bordegaina, ou le Sabbat a accouftume fe tenir, 
fi bien qu'elle nous a di6l qu'il ne confefferoit jamais. Qu'elle a veu au Sabbat entre 
une infinite qu'elle nomme et cognoift, un nomme Anduitze, qui ell celuy qui va 
donner les affignations aux forcieres pour fe trouver au Sabbat. . . . 

Et plufieurs autres nous ont di6t que les plaifirs et la joye y font fi grands et de 
tant de fortes, qu'il n'y a homme ny femme qui n'y coure tres-volontiers. ... La 
femme fe joue en prefence de fon mary fans foupgon nijaloufie, voire il en eft fouvent 
le proxenete: le pere depucelle fa fille fans vergogne: la merearrache le pucelagedu 
fils fans crainte: le frere de la foeur ; on y voit les peres et meres porter et prefenter 
leurs enfans. De l' hiconjiance, p. 132. 


The dances at the Sabbath were moftly indecent, including the 
well-known Sarabande, and the women danced in them fometimes 
in chemife, but much more frequently quite naked. They con- 
fided efpecially in violent movements ; and the devil often joined 
in them, taking the handfomeft woman or girl for his partner. De 
Lancre's account of thefe dances is fo minute and curious that it 
may be given in his own words. ^ " If the faying is true that never 
woman or girl returned from the ball as chafte as fhe went there, 
how unclean muft fhe return who has abandoned herfelf to the un- 
fortunate defign of going to the ball of the demons and evil fpirits, 
who has danced in hand with them, who has kifl*ed them obfcenely, 
who has yielded herfelf to them as a prey, has adored them, and 
has even copulated with them ? It is to be, in good earned, incon- 
ftant and fickle ; it is to be not only lewd, or even a fhamelefs 
whore, but to be fl:ark-mad, unworthy of the favours with which 
God loads her in bringing her into the world, and caufing her to 
be born a Chrifl:ian. We caufed in feveral places the bovs and 
girls to dance in the fame fafhion as they danced at the Sabbath, 
as much to deter them from fuch uncleannefs, by convincing them 
to what a degree the moft modefl: of thefe movements was filthy, 
vile, and unbecoming in a virtuous girl, as alfo becaufe, when 

^ Et s'il ell vray ce qu'on dit que jamais femme ny fille ne revint du bal fi chafte 
comme elle y eft allee,combien immonde revient celle qui s'eft abandonnee, ct a prins 
ce mal-heureux deflain d'aller au bal des demons et mauvais efprits, qui a dance a 
leur main, qui les a fi falement baifez, qui s'eft donnee a eux en proye, les a adorez, et 
s'eft mefme accouplee avec eux ? C'eft eftre a bon efcient inconftante et volage: c'eft 
eftre non feulement impudique, voire putain efFrontee, mais bien folle enragee, inbigne 
des graces que Dieu luy avoit faidl et verfe fur elle, lors qu'il la mit au monde, et la 
fift naiftre chreftienne. Nous fifmes en plufieurs lieux dancer les enfans ct filles en 
la mefme fagon qu'elles dangoient au Sabbat, tant pour les deterrer d'une telle falete, 
leur faifant recognoiftre combien le plus modefte mouvement eftoit fale, vilain, et 
malfeant a une honnefte fille, qu'aufii par-ce qu'au confrontement la plus part des 


accufed, the greater part of the witches, charged with having among 
other things danced in hand with the devil, and fometimes led the 
dance, denied it all, and faid that the girls were deceived, and that 
they could not have known how to exprefs the forms of dance 
which they faid they had feen at the Sabbath. They were boys 
and girls of a fair age, who had already been in the way of 
falvation before our commiffion. In truth fome of them were 
already quite out of it, and had gone no more to the Sabbath for 
fome time ; others were ftill ftruggling to efcape, and, held ftill by 
one foot, flept in the churches, confefled and communicated, in order 
to withdraw themfelves entirely from Satan's claws. Now it is 
faid that they dance always with their backs turned to the centre of 
the dance, which is the caufe that the girls are fo accuftomed to 
carry their hands behind them in this round dance, that they draw 
into it the whole body, and give it a bend curved backwards, 
having their arms half turned ; fo that moft of them have the belly 
commonly great, pufhed forward, and fwoUen, and a little inclining 
in front. I know not whether this be caufed by the dance or by 
the ordure and wretched provifions they are made to eat. But the 
fad is, they dance very feldom one by one, that is one man alone 

forcieres accufees d'avoir entre autres chofes dancee a la main du Diable, et parfois 
mene la dance, nioyent tout, et difoient que les iilles eftoient abufees, et qu'elles 
n'euflent fceu exprimer les formes de dance qu'elles difoient avoir veu au Sabbat. 
C'eftoient des enfans et filles de bon aage, et qui eftoient desja en voye de falut avant 
noftre commiffion. A la verite aucunes en eftoient dehors tout a faift, et n'alloy- 
ent plus au Sabbat il y avoit quelque temps : les autres eftoient encore a fe debatre 
fur la perche, et attachez par un pied, dormoient dans les eglifes, fe confeflbient et 
communioient, pour s'ofter du tout des pattes de Satan. Or on dift qu'on y dance 
tousjours le dos tourne au centre de la dance, qui faift que les filles font fi accouf- 
tumees a porter les mains en arriere en cefte dance ronde, qu'elles y trainent tout le 
corps, et luy donnent un ply courbe en arriere, ayant les bras a demy tournez : fi 
bien que la plus part ont le ventre communement grand, enfle et avance, et un peu 
penchant fur le devant. Je ne fgay fi la dance leur caufe cela ou 1' ordure et mef- 
chantes viandes qu'on leur fait manger. Au refte on y dance fort peu fouvent un a 


with one woman or girl, as we do in our galliards ; fo they have told 
and aflured us, that they only danced there three forts of branles, 
or brawls, ufually turning their fhoulders to one another, and the 
back of each looking towards the round of the dance, and the face 
turned outwards. The firft is the Bohemian dance, for the wan- 
dering Bohemians are alfo half devils; I mean thofe long-haired 
people without country, who are neither Egytians (gipfies), nor 
of the kingdom of Bohemia, but are born everywhere, as they 
purfue their route, and pafs countries, in the fields, and under the 
trees, and they go about dancing and playing conjuring tricks, as at 
the Sabbath. So they are numerous in the country of Labourd,on 
account of the eafy paflage from Navarre and Spain. 

"The fecond is with jumping, as our working men pracflife in 
towns and villages, along the ftreets and fields; and thefe two are 
in round. The third is alfo with the back turned, but all holding 
together in length, and, without difengaging hands, they approach 
fo near as to touch, and meet back to back, a man with a woman ; 
and at a certain cadence they pufh and ftrike together immodeftly 
their two pofteriors. And it was alfo told us that the devil, in his 

un, c'ell a dire un homme feul avec une femme ou fillc, comme nous faifons en nos 
gaillardes : ains elles nous ont difl et afTeure, qu'on n'y dangoit que trois fortes de 
branfles, communement fe tournant les efpaules I'un I'autre, et le dos d'un chafcun 
vifant dans le rond dc la dance, et le vifage en dehors. La premiere c'ell a la Bohe- 
mienne, car aufli les Bohemes coureurs font a demy diables : je dy ces long polls 
fans patrie, qui ne font ny ^gyptiens, ny du royaume de Boheme, ains ils naiffent 
par tout en chemin faifant et paffant pais, et dans les champs, et foubs les arbrcs, et 
font les dances et baftelages a demy comme au Sabbat. Aufli font ils frequens au 
paVs dc Labourt, pour I'aifance du paflagc dc Navarre et de I'Efpagne. 

La feconde c'ell a fauts, comme nozartifans fontes villeset villages, par les rues et par 
les champs : et ces deux font en rond. Et la troifiefme ell aufli le dos tourne, mais fe 
tenant tous en long, et, fans fe deprendre des mains, ils s'approchent de fi pres qu'ils 
fe touchent, et fe rencontrcnt dos a dos, un homme avec une femme : et a certaine 
cadence ils fe choquent et frapent inpudcmmcnt cul centre cul. Mais aufli il nous 
fut dit que le Diable bizarre ne les failoit pas tous mcttrc rangement le dos tourne 

I I 


ftrange humours, did not caufe them all to be placed in order, with 
their backs turned towards the crown of the dance, as is commonly 
faid by everybody ; but one having the back turned, and the other 
not, and fo on to the end of the dance. . . . They dance to the 
found of the tabor and flute,and fometimes with the long inftrument 
they carry at the neck, and thence ftretching to near the girdle, 
which they beat with a little ftick; fometimes with a violin (fiddle). 
But thefe are not the only inftruments of the Sabbath, for we have 
learnt from many of them that all forts of inftruments are feen 
there, with fuch harmony that their is no concert in the world to be 
compared to it." 

Nothing is more remarkable than the fort of prurient curiofity 
with which thefe honeft commiffioners interrogated the witneftes as 
to the fexual peculiarities and capabilities of the demon, and the 
fort of fatisfaction with which De Lancre reduces all this to writinof.^ 
They all tend to fhow the identity of thefe orgies with thofe of the 
ancient worfhip of Priapus, who is undoubtedly figured in the Satan 
of the Sabbath. The young witch, Jeannette d'Abadie, told how 
Ihe had feen at the Sabbath men and women in promifcuous inter- 
courfe, and how the devil arranged them in couples, .in the moft 
unnatural conjunctions — the daughter with the father, the mother 
with her fon, the fifter with the brother, the daughter-in-law with 

vers la couronne de la dance, comme communement dift tout le monde : ains I'un 
ayant le dos tourne, et I'autre non : et ainfi tout a fuite jufqu'a la fin de la dance. 
.... Or elles dancent au fon du petit tabourin et de la flufte, et parfois avec ce long 
inftrument qui' Is portent fur le col, puis s'allongeant jusqu'aupres de la ceinture, ils 
le batent avec un petit bafton : parfois avec un violon. Mais ce ne font les feuls 
inftrumens du Sabbat, car nous avons apprins de plufieurs qu'on y oyt toute forte 
d'inftrumens, avec une telle harmonic qu'il n'y a concert au monde qui le puiffe 
efgaler. De V hiconjlance, ^c, p. 209. 

1 Jeannette d'Abadie, aagee de feize ans, dift, qu'elle a veu hommes et femmes fe 
mefler promifcuement au Sabbat : que le Diable leur commandoit de s'accoupler et 
fe joindre, leur baillant a chacun tout ce que la nature abhorre le plus, fgavoir la fille 


the father-in-law, the penitent with herconfeflorjwithoutdiftindion 
of age, quality, or rehitionfhip, fo that fhe confeffed to having been 
known an infinity of times at the Sabbath by a coufin-german of 
her mother, and by an infinite number of others. After repeating 
much that fhe had faid before rehating to the impudicity of the Sab- 
bath, this girl faid that fhe had been deflowered by the devil at the 
age of thirteen — twelve was the common age for this — that they 
never became pregnant,either by him or by any of the wizards of the 
Sabbath ; that fhe had never felt anything come from the devil 
except the firfi: time, when it was very cold, but that with the for- 
cerers it was as with other men. That the devil chofe the hand- 
fomeft of the women and girls for himfelf, and one he ufually made 
his queen for the meeting. That they fuffered extremely when he 
had intercourfe with them, in confequence of his member being 
covered with fcales like thofe of a fifh. That when extended it was 

au pere, le fils a la mere, la foeur au frere, la filleulle au parrain, la penitente a fon 
confefleur, fans diftinftion d'aage, de qualite, ni de parentelle : de forte qu'elle con- 
teflbit librement avoir efte connue une infinite de fois au Sabbat, par un coufin ger- 
main de fa mere et par une infinite d'autres : que c'ell une perpetuelle ordure, en 
laquelle tout le monde s'efgayoit comme elle : que hors du Sabbat elle ne fit jamais 
de taute : qu'elle le faifoit tout autant de fois que le Diable le luy cpmmandoit, et 
indiiferemment avec toute forte de gens: ayant efte depucellee au Sabbat puis I'aage 
de treize ans : que le Diable les conviant et forgant de faire cefte faute, foit avec luy, 
foit avec des gens de rencontre en ces aflemblees, la faute n'cftoit fienne : que de ces 
accouplemens on ne s'engroffoit jamais, foit qu'ils fuflent avec le maiftre, foit avec 
d'autres forciers : ce que pourtant plufieurs exemples dans nos hiftoires rendcnt ex- 
tremement incertain et douteux : qu'on n'y fent que deplaifir : qu'elle n'a jamais 
fenty qu'il euft aucune femence, fauf quand il la dcpucella qu'elle la fentit froidc, 
mais que cclle des autres hommes qui I'ont cognue ell naturelle : qu'il fechoifit et trie 
les plus belles ; et de vray toutes cellcs que nous avons veu qualificcs de cc tiltrc dc 
roynes eftoient doiiecs de quelque beaute plus finguliere que les autres. Si bicn que 
celle Dctfail a Urrogne, lorfqu'elle fut executee a mort, mourut fi defdaigncui'emcnt 
que le bourrcau de Bayonne, jcunc et dc belle forme, voulant cxtorqucr d'clle, comme 
c'ert la couftume, le baifcr du pardon, elle ne voulut jamais profaner fa belle bouche 
qui avoit accoullumee d'cftrc colee au dcrricrc du Diable. Did d'avantagc que, lors 


a yard long, but that it was ufually twifted. Marie d'Afpilcuette, 
a girl between nineteen and twenty years of age, who alfo confefled 
to having had frequent connexion with Satan, defcribed his member 
as about half a yard long, and moderately large. Marguerite, a 
girl of Sare, between fixteen and feventeen, defcribed it as refem- 
bling that of a mule, and as being as long and thick as one's arm. 
More on this fubjedl the reader will find in De Lancre's own text, 
given in the note below. The devil, we are further told, preferred 

que le Diable les cognoift charnellement, elles fouffrentune extreme douleur, les ayant 
ouyes crier, et, au fortir de I'afle, les ayant veiies revenir au Sabbat toutes fanglantes 
fe plaignant de douleur, laquelle vient de ce que le membre du Demon ellant faift 
a efcailles comme un poilTon, elles fe referrent en entrant, et fe levent et piquent en 
fortant : c'eft pour quoy elles fuyent femblables rencontres. 

Que le membre du Diable, s'il eiloit eflendu, eft long environ d'une aulne, mais il 
le tient entortille et finiieux en forme de ferpent : que fouvent il interpofe quelque 
nuee quand il veut fe joindre a quelque femme ou fille. Qu'elle a veu le Diable avec 
plufieurs perfonnes au Sabbat qu'elle nous a nomme, et que fi veux taire pour cer- 
tain raifon. Et en fin qu'elle avoit auffi efte depucellee par luy des I'aage de treize ans, 
et depuis cognue plufieurs fois en forme d'homme, et en mefme fagon que les autres 
hommes ont accouftume de coignoiftre leurs efpoufes, mais avec une extrefme douleur, 
par les raifons cy deflus deduiftes : qu'elle a veu faire tous ces accouplemens une in- 
finite de fois, par ce que celles qui le mauvais Demon a cognues voyent fort bien 
quand le Diable en cognoift d'autres. Mais il a quelque vergongne de faire voir 
cette vilennie a celles avec lefquelles il n'a encore eu acointance : qui eft caufe qu'il 
leur met au devant cette nuee. 

Marie d'Afpilcuette, fille de dix-neuf a vingt ans, difoit le mefme, pour ce qui eft du 
membre en efcailles, mais elle depofoit que lors qu'il les vouloit cognoiftre, il quitoit 
la forme de bouc et prenoit celle d'homme. Que les forciers au Sabbat prenoient 
chacun telle femme ou fille que bon luy fembloit, et a la veiie de tout le monde : 
qu'on n'y eft jamais refufe, et que les maris foufFrent que le Diable, ou qui que ce foit 
du Sabbat, jouiffe de fa femme tout devant lui, et que le mari mefme parfois s'exerce 
avec fa femme : que le membre du Diable eft long environ la moitie d'une aulne, de 
mediocre grofleur, rouge, obfcur, et tortu, fort rude et comme piquant. 

En voicy d'une autre forte. Marguerite, fille de Sare, aagee de feize a dixfept 
ans, depofe que le Diable, foit qu'il ayt la forme d'homme, ou qu'il foit en forme 
de bouc, a tousjours un membre de mulct, ayant choifi en imitation celuy de cet 


married women to girls, becaufe there was more fin in the connec- 
tion, adultery being a greater crime than fimple fornication. 

In order to give ftill more truthfulnefs to his account of the Sab- 
bath, De Lancre caufed all the fads gathered from the confeflions 
of his vidlims to be embodied in apifturewhichilluftrates thefecond 
edition of his book, and which places the whole fcene before us fo 
vividly that we have had it re-engraved in facfimile as an illuftra- 
tion to the prefent effay.^ The different groups are, as will be 
feen, indicated by capital letters. At A we have Satan in his gilt 
pulpit, with five horns, the one in the middle lighted, for the pur- 
pofe of giving light to all the candles and fires at the Sabbath. B 
is the queen of the Sabbath, feated at his right hand, while another 
favorite, though in lefs degree, fits on the other fide. C, a witch 
prefenting a child which fi^e has feduced. D, the witches, each 
with her demon, feated at table. E, a party of four witches and 
forcerers, who are only admitted as fpedators, and are not allowed 

animal comme le mieux pourveu : qu'il I'a long et gros comme le bras : que quand 
il veut cognoiftre quelque fille ou femme au Sabbat, comme il faift prefque a 
chafque affemblee, il faift paroiftre quelque forme de lid de foye, fur lequel il 
faift femblant de les coucher, qu'elles n'y prennent point de deplaifir, comme 
ont did ces premieres : et que jamais il ne paroill au Sabbat en quelque adlion que ce 
foit, qu'il n'ait tousjours fon inftrument dehors, de cette belle forme et mefure : tout 
a rebours de ce que dit Boguet, que celles de fon pais ne luy ont veu guiere plus long 
que le doigt et gros fimplement a proportion : fi bien que les forcieres de Labourt 
font mieux fervies de Satan que celles de la Franche-Conte. 

Marie de Marigrane, fille de Biarrix, aagee de quinze ans, dit, Qu'il fcmble que cc 
mauvais Demon ait fon membre my party, moitie de fer, moitic dc chair, tout de 
fon long, et de mefme les genitoires, et depole I'avoir veu en cette forme pluficurs fois 
au Sabbat : et outre ce I'avoit ouy dire a des femmes que Satan avoit cognues : qu'il 
les fait crier comme des femmes qui Ibnt en mal d'enfant : et qu'il tient tousjours fon 
membre dehors. 

Petry de Linarre did que le Diable a le membre faift de come, ou pour le moins 
il en a I'apparence, c'ell pourquoy il faift tant crier les femmes. De r Inconjlance, 
p. 223. 

1 See our plate xl. 


to approach the great ceremonies. F, " according to the old 
proverb, Apres la pance, vient la dance^' the witches and their 
demons have rifen from table, and are here engaged in one of the 
defcriptions of dances mentioned above. G, the players on inftru- 
ments, who furnifh the mufic to which the witches dance. H, a 
troop of women and girls, who dance with their faces turned out- 
wards from the round of the dance. I, the cauldron on the fire, to 
►make all forts of poifons and noxious compounds. K, during thefe 
proceedings, many witches are {^^r\ arriving at the Sabbath on 
ftaffs and broomfticks, and others on goats, bringing with them 
children to offer to Satan ; others are departing from the Sabbath, 
carried through the air to the fea and diftant parts, where they 
will raife ftorms and tempefts. L, " the great lords and ladies and 
other rich and powerful people, who treat on the grand affairs of 
the Sabbath, where they appear veiled, and the women with mafks, 
that they may remain always concealed and unknown." Laftly, 
at M, we fee the young children, at fome diftance from the bufy 
part of the ceremonies, taking charge of the toads. 

In reviewing the extraordinary fcenes which are developed in 
thefe witch-depofitions, we are ftruck not only with their general 
refemblance among themfelves, although told in different countries, 
but alfo with the ftriking points of identity between the proceed- 
ings of the Sabbath and the fecret affemblies with which the 
Templars were charged. We have in both the initiatory prefenta- 
tion, the denial of Chrift, and the homage to the new mafter, fealed 
by the obfcene kifs. This is juft what might be expefted. In 
preferving fecretly a religious worfhip after the open practice of it 
had been profcribed, it would be natural, if not neceffary, to require 
of the initiated a ftrong denial of the new and intrufive faith, with 
a(5bs as well as words which compromifed him entirely in what he 
was doing. The mafs and weight of the evidence certainly goes 
to prove that fuch fecret rites did prevail among the Templars, 


though it is not equally evident that they prevailed throughout 
the order; and the fimilarity of the revelations of the witch-con- 
fefTions, in all countries where they were taken, feems to fhow that 
there was in them alfo a foundation in truth. We look upon it as 
not admitting of doubt, that the Priapic orgies and the other 
periodical afTemblies for worfhip of this defcription, which we have 
defcribed in an earlier part of this eflay, were continued long after 
the fall of the Roman power and the introdudion of the Chriftian 
religion. The ruftic population, moftly fervile, whofe morals or 
private pradices were little heeded by the other clafles of focicty, 
might, in a country fo thinly peopled, afTemble by night in retired 
places without any fear of obfervation. There they perhaps indulged 
in Priapic rites, followed by the old Priapic orgies, which would 
become more and more debafed in form, but through the effeds 
of exciting potions, as defcribed by Michelet,^ would have become 
wilder than ever. T^^^Y t)ecame, as Michelet defcribes them, the 
Saturnalia of the ferf The ftate of mind produced by thefe 
excitements would lead thofe who partook in them to believe eafily 
in the actual prefence of the beings they worfhipped, who, according 
to the Church dodrines, were only fo many devils. Hence arofe 
the diabolical agency in the fcene. Thus we eafily obtain all the 
materials and all the incidents of the witches' Sabbath. Where this 
older worfhip was preferved among the middle or more elevated 
claffes of fociety, who had other means of fecrecy at their command, 
it would take a lefs vulgar form, and would fhow itfelf in the 
formation of concealed fedts and focieties, fuch as thofe of the dif- 
ferent forms of Gnofticifm, of the Stadingers, of the Templars, 
and of other lefs important fecret clubs, of a more or lefs immoral 
character, which continued no doubt to exift long after what we 

1 See Michelet, La Sorcicre, liv. i, c. 9, on the ufe and the efFefts of the Solanes, 
to which he attributes much of the delufions of the Sabbath. 


call the middle ages had pafled away. As we have before in- 
timated, thefe mediaeval prad:ices prevailed moft in Gaul and the 
South, where the influence of Roman manners and fuperfl:itions 
was greatefl:. 

The worfhip of the reproductive organs as reprefenting the 
fertilizing, protecting, and faving powers of nature, apart from 
thefe fecret rites, prevailed univerfally, as we have traced it fully 
in the preceding pages, and we only recur to that part of the 
fubjecft to ftate that perhaps the lafl: traces of it now to be found 
in our iflands is met with on the weftern fhores of Ireland. Off 
the coafl: of Mayo, there is a fmall ifland named Innifkea, the in- 
habitants of which are a very primitive and uncultivated race, and 
which, although it takes its name from a female faint (it is the 
tnjula Jan5la Geidhe of the Hibernian hagiographers), does not 
contain a Angle Catholic priefl;. Its inhabitants, indeed, as we learn 
from an interefliing communication to Notes and ^eries by Sir 
J. Emerfon Tennent,^ are mere idolaters, and their idol, no doubt 
the reprefentative of Priapus, is a long cylindrical ftone, which they 
call Neevougee. This idol is kept wrapped in flannel, and is 
entrufl:ed to the care of an old woman, who ad:s as the priefl:efs. 
It is brought out and worfliipped at certain periods, when fl:orms 
difliurb the fifliing, by which chiefly the population of the ifland 
obtain a living, or at other times it is expofed for the purpofe of 
raifing fl:orms which may caufe wrecks to be thrown on the coafl: 
of the ifland. I am informed that the name Neevougee is merely 
the plural of a word fignifying a canoe, and it may perhaps have 
fome reference to the calling of fifliermen. 

^ Notes atid ^eries, for 1852, vol. v, p. 121. 


CANTHUS, medal of, 71. 
Adamiani or Adamites, 
mediaeval fert, and their 
praftices, 172. 
Adel in Yorkfhire, objefts 
with Priapic emblems found there, 
i^fchylus, 80. 
JEl'erma, medals of, 80. 
Agricultural feilivals, 154. 
Aix, phallus found there, 119. 
Albigenfes, early Chriilian feft, 177. 
Ammon, Pan of the Greeks, 38, 61. 
Amulets, Priapic, worn by Italians, 4, 
148 ; worn in the middle ages, 145 ; 
leaden, with Priapic fymbols, found 
in the feine, 146, 170. 
Androgynous figures in ancient fculptures, 

Animal worfhip, 30, 32, 2^, 34. 
Antwerp, Priapus, under the name of 

Ters, its patron faint, 144. 
Apis, Egyptian facred bull, 30. 
Apollo, 76. 

Apollo, Didymjeus, 82. 
Appian, 82. 
Apuleius, 39, 95. 
Ariilophanes, ancient fyilcm of theology, 

44- . 
Ariftotle, 42. 

Arras, perfecutions againft witchcraft 
there, 207, ef feq. 

Artemidorus, mention of fymbolical 
horns, 22. 

AruerisorOrus, Greek Apollo, parentage 
of, 40. 

Athenasus, mention of a phallus, 120 
cubits long, 84. 

Aufonius, mention of the Floralia, 155. 

Bacchanalia, 154. 

Bacchus, ancient reprefentations of, 74. 

Bagvat Geeta, expofition of Hindu theo- 
logy, 48—50, 56, 58, 59, 61. _:; 

Baphomet, idol of the Knights Templars, 

Barrennefs in women, Priapic fymbols 
for the cure of, 142. 

Becan, account of antiquities of Antwerp, 

Bell tolling, origin of, 97. 

Bodinus, account of the witches' Sab- 
bath, 210. 

Bona Dea, Priapic rites, 156. 

Brahma, Hindoo deity, 60. 

Brand's Popular Antiquities, 161, 168. 

Britain, remains of Priapic worfliip found 
in, 122 — 126. 

Bulgarians, k(\ of Gnoilics, 175, 176. 

Bull, Indian worfhip of, 34. 

Burchardus, 129, 144, 171- 

Butterfly, ancient religious allegory, 100. 

Ccefar, S i . 

Cakes in form of phallus made at Ealler, 



Campegius, mention ot'phallic cakes, 159. 
Cat, alleged vvorfhip of by the Templars, 


Cathari, mediaeval feft, 178. 

Cato the younger, anecdote of, 155. 

Celenderis, medal of, 71. 

Celtic temple at Zeeland, 64. 

Ceres and Baubo, ftory of, 134. 

Ceres and Proferpine, 71, 134. 

Chalons, council of, aft of, 129. 

Chilminar, ancient ruins at, 86. 

Chriftian (early) fefts, 172, et feq. 

Chriilian fellivals, exceffes at, 107. 

Chryfoflom, 19, note. 

Churches, fculptures of phallic emblems 
on, 131, et feq., 204. 

Coggelhall (Ralph de), old Englifh chro- 
nicler, account of the Waldenfes, 179. 

Coles' (W.) Adam in Eden, obfcene 
names of plants, 167. 

Como, fculptures on the church of San 
Fedele, 137. 

Corinth, temple at, 104, 105. 

Corinthian order of architefture, origin 

of» 53- 
Cow, fymbol of Venus in Egypt, 33,62. 
Cyzicus, ancient medal of, 29 ; worfhip 

of Venus there, 84. 
D'Harcanville, references to his work, 

" Recherches fur les Arts," 15,21,23, 

28, 45, 47, 70, 74, 136. 
De Lancre, account of witchcraft in 

France, A. D. 1612, 212, et feq. 
Diana, the female deftruftive power, 77. 
Diodorus Siculus, 19, note, 65, 105. 
Dionyfius of Halicarnaffus, 104. 
Dulaure, refearches on modern Priapic 

worfhip, 118. 
Durandus, mention of fingular Eafter 

cullom, 161. 
Dufii, Gallic name for Incubi, 152. 
Eafter, Teutonic feftival with Priapic 

obfervances, 157. 
Egyptian religious rites, 16, 30, 31, 32, 

83 ; ancient Egyptian monuments, 

51, 52- 

Egypt, phallic images brought thence, 

Elephant, reprefented in ancient Indian 

monuments, 56, 57 ; Greek, 59. 
Elephanta, fculptures from the caverns of, 

47, 53; 
Elephantis. ancient erotic work, 103. 
Embrun, phallus of St. Foutin worftiipped 

there, 140. 
Eryx, temple at, 105. 
Euripides, 44, 69, 80, 104, 106. 
Fafcinum, Roman name for male organ, 

mediajval worfhip of, 128, 145. 
Fateux, cakes made in form of phallus, 

Fauns and fatyrs, 35, 43, 45. 

Feftivals of Priapus, 154, et feq. 

Fig, obfcene gefture, called "to make the 

fig," a Priapic emblem, 150 ; referred 

to in a trial of witches, 235. 
Fire, worfhip of, 65. 
Floralia, Priapic feftival, 155, 161. 
Forgeais (M.), phallic amulets found by 

him in the Seine, 146. 
Frea, Anglo-Saxon Priapus, 126. 
Fridaythorpe, Yorkfhire, and Frifton, 

probable derivation of the names, 

Gems, ancient, illuftrative of the fubjeft, 

39, 41, 61, 104, 155. 
Generative powers, worfhip of during 

the middle ages of Weftern Europe, 

117, et feq. 
Gerard's Herbal^ obfcene names of 

plants, 167. 
German witchcraft in the fifteenth cen- 
tury, 209. 
German worfhip of the fun, 34, 81. 
Gefner, medals publifhed by, 74. 
Gnoftics, their praftices of hofpitality, 

&c., 99, 173. 
Goat, fymbol of the generative attribute, 

23 ; living goat worfhip of ancient 

Egyptians, 32. 
Godiva's (Lady) procefTion, a relic of 

Priapic celebration, 170. 



Golnitz, account of a ilatue at Antwerp, 

Goltzius, medals publiflied by, 46. 

Gonnis, Hindoo deity, 56, 57, 58, 61. 

Greece, ancient theology of, 17, 32, 34. 

Grecian reprefentations of attributes of 

the deity, 16, 45, 60. 
Greek temples, 55. 
Gregory IX., account of fecret rites of 

the Stcdingers, 183 — 185. 
Grotius, 37, note. 
Hammer (Baron von), defcription of 

idols of the Knights Templars, 138, 

199, et feq. 
Harmony, daughter of Mars and Venus, 

Heaving and lifting, Englilh cultoms at 

Eafter, 160. 
Helman, god of deftruftion, 78, ig, 80. 
Herculaneum and Pompeii, relics ot 

Priapic worfhip and attributes found 

there, 4, 27, zZy 37. ^20. 
Hercules, attributes of, 91, 92. 
Hermaphrodite,ancient figures of, 41,43. 
Herodotus, 31,32,52, Gt,, 66, 104, 134. 
Hefiod, 16, 44, 106. 
Hierapolis, goddefs of, the Priapic Diana, 

Hierapolis, temple at, 84. 

Hindoo animal worlhip, 34 ; fymbols of 

generative organs on ancient Indian 

fculptures, 47, 48 ; ancient Hindoo 

theology, 56, et feq. 
Homer, 17, 32, 41, 51, 63, 69, 72, 73, 

80, 91, 98, 112. 
Horace, 128. 

Horns, ancient fymbol of power, 22. 
Horfefhoe, modern form of ancient 

drawings of the female organ, ufed as 

a talisman, 139. 
Houfefteads in Northumberland, fculp- 

ture found there, 125. 
Idolatry among the Knights Templars, 

194, et feq. 
Incuhi, fpirits of the woods, 152. 
Inniflcea. an ifland on the wellern fliores 

of Ireland, lall trace of Priapic worfliip 
found there, 248. 
Ireland, Shclah-na-gig, reprefentations of 
the female organ found there, 132 — 

Ifernia, 5, 118. 

Ifis, ancient deity, 39, 40, 50, 83, 95. 
Italian Chriilian lefts, names of, 177. 
James I, on witchcraft, 210. 
Japanefe fculptures, 47. 
Jewifli religion, identity of its fymbols 

with thofe of the heathen, 112, 113. 
Jofephus, III. 
Jupiter, father of Minerva, 57, 58, 69, 

85, 93. lOi, II3-. 
Jupiter Ammon, identical with Pan, 38. 

Juvenal, 105, 124, 155, 156. 

Kandarp, Hindoo god of love, 61, 62. 

Ketzer, German name of the Cathari, 

Krcfhna, Hindoo deity, 48. 
Labourd, proceedings againft witchcraft 

there, a. d. 1609, 212, et feq. 
Laftantius, 103. 
Lanercoll, chronicle of, 129. 
Leaden tokens with phallic emblems, 

146, 170, 183. 
Le Chatelet, phallus found there, 119. 
Lefbos, ancient rites in the ifland of, 105. 
Liberalia, Priapic fcllival, 154. 
Libitina, Roman Goddefs ot death, 73. 
Lingam, Indian reprefentation of the 

generative attribute, 49, 54. 
Lion, ancient fymbol of the fun, 70. 
Lotus, facred plant of the Hindoos, 49, 

50, 54, 58- 

Lucian, 83, 84. 

Lucretius, 45. 

Lycaean Pan, god of the Arcadians, 35. 

Lycopolis, fun worfliip there, 81. 

Macrobius, mention of a temple in 

Thrace, 67, 78, 81. 
Malleus Maleficarum, celebrated work 

againft witchcraft, 209. 
Mandrake, ancient Priapic iuperftitions 

regarding, 16S. 



Manichsans, early Chrillian left, 173, 

Mapes (Walter), account of the fecret 

rites of the Paterini in the eleventh 

century, 176. 
Mars, god of deftruftion, 78., 
Mars and Venus, 71. 
Martial, epigrams, 149, 159. 
May Day, mediaeval celebration of, iden- 
tical with the Roman Floralia, 161 ; 
, Elizabethan cuflom on May Day, 162, 

Mecklenburg Strelitz, ftatuettes found 

there, 136. 
Medallicreprefentationsof the generative 

organs, 29. 
Medals with phallic emblems, ufed by 

fecret focieties of the middle ages, 205. 
Medufa's head, 90. 
Miches, cakes made in the form of the 

male organ in France, 160. 
Michelet, account of proceedings againll 

the Templars, 188, 247. 
Middleton (Dr.) Letter from Rome, 3. 
Minerva, Greek deity, fimilar to the 

Hindoo Gonnis, her attributes, birth, 

&c., 57, 58, 61. 
Minotaur, fabulous monfter, 89, 90. 
Molay (Jaques de) grand mailer of the 
Templars, proceedings againft him, 185. 
Molitor (Ulric), work on witchcraft, 

A. D. 1489, 209. 
Moon, ancient attributes of, 59, 83. 
Mufee Secret, reprefentations of phalli, 

120, 149. 
Naples, Sir W. Hamilton's account of 

Priapic worfhip there, 3. 
Needfire, 127, 163 — 166 ; introduced 

in the witches' Sabbath, 222. 
Nicolaitae, early Chriftian feft, 173. 
Nider (John), work on witchcraft, 209. 
Nimes, Roman amphitheatre at, fculp- 

tures of phalli, 119 — 122. 
Novatians, early Chriftian feft, 178. 
Nymphs, companions of fauns and fatyrs, 


Occus, Hindoo deity, 60. 
Onomacritus, early poet, 18, note. 
Orleans, a fecret fociety with obfcene 

rites there, in the eleventh century, 

Orpheus, Argonauticon, account of, 

18, note. 
Orpheus, hymns of, 19, note^ 20, 24, 

29, 40, 44, 65, 69, 92, 93. 
Orphic fyftem of theology, 17, et feq. 
Oliris, ancient deity, 16, 29, 40, 68. 
Ovid, 44. 

Pason, Greek name of Apollo, 75. 
Pagan rites introduced into the worfhip 

of the early Chriftians, 171, et feq. 
Pan, attributes of, 35 — 38, 69. 
Paterini, Italian feftarians, and their 

fecret rites, 176. 
Paulicians, fedt of Gnoftics, introducers 

of phailic worfhip into Weflern Eu- 
rope, 175. 
Paufanias, 19, note^ 39, 63. 
Pellerin, medal publifhed by him, 29. 
Perfian worfhip, d^^, 86. 
Philippe IV. proceedings againft the 

Knights Templars, 185. 
Philo fuppofed firft individuals of the 

human race to be androgynous, 43. 
Phoenician medals. 87, 88, 90. 
Phoenician religion, ancient, 94. 
Pilofi, fpirits of the woods, 152. 
Pindar, 60, 98, loi. 
Plants connefted with Priapic worfhip, 

obfcene names of, &c., 166, et feq. 
Plato, 74. 

Platonic religion, 25, 37, 65, 67, 89. 
Pliny, 76. 
Plutarch, 15, 16, 19, note^ 20, 30, 38, 

60, 68, 82, 96, 120. 
Pluto, 69. 

Pollear, Hindoo deity, 56, 61. 
Polypus reprefentedon Greek medals, 2 1 . 
Popular oaths and exclamations derived 

from phallic worfhip, 181. 
Priapeia, feftival of Priapus, 156. 
Priapus, original intention in the worfhip 



of, 15 ; as reprefented by Roman 
artiils, 42 ; degradation of, 102 ; facri- 
fices to, 104 ; fanftified in the middle 

ages, 139, ^^f^l- 
Proclus, on truth, 26 ; on the Platonic 

theology, 27, 30, 41. 

Proferpine, 72. 

Ptolemies, medals of, 57, 61. 

Ptolemy Philadclphus, 84. 

Purgatory, modern form of purification 
by fire, 100. 

Puzzuoli, temple of Serapis there, 64,66. 

Pytho, the ferpent dellroyed bv Apollo, 

Robin Goodfellow, 153. 

Roman worfliip of Priapus, 118. 

Sabbath of the witches, modern form of 
Priapic fertivals, 206, et feq.; fecret 
praftices at, defcribed by Bodinus, 
2IO — 212 ; defcribed by De Lancre, 
216, et feq.; identity with rites of the 
Knights Templars, 246. 

St. Auguiline, commands to ladies attend- 
ing Chrillian feilivals, 107 ; on the 
Liberalia, 129. 

St. Cofmo, modern Italian Priapus, ac- 
count of the feall of, at Ifernia, 5, 9. 

St. Epiphanius, account of the Gnoftics, 

St. Fiacre, chair of, 142. 
St. Foutin, French Priapus of the middle 

ages, 139, 143- 
St. John's eve, culloms on, 164 — 166, 

St. Nicholas, fuperilition regarding, 132. 
Saints, names of fcveral phallic, 141. 
Scottifh worfhip of Priapus in the 13th 

century, 130, 13 •• 
Scrat, German fpirit of the woods, 151. 
Scriptural emblems, 86. 
Sefts of the middle ages, 172, et feq. 
Serapis, temple of, 64. 
Serpent, fymbol of life and vigour, 21 ; 

worfhipped by Egyptians, 32. 
Shakefpeare, ufe of the phrafe "the fig 

of Spain," 150. 

Shelah-na-gig, rcprcfcntations of the fe- 
male organ found in Ireland under 
that name, 132 — 134. 

Shrewfbury fhow, a relic of Priapic cele- 
bration, 170. 

Sicyon, temple at, mentioned by Paula- 
nias, 63. 

Sileni, attendants on Bacchus, 41. 

Snake, hooded, fymbol of the Egyptians, 

Societies, fecret, in the middle ages, for 

Priapic worfhip, 170. 

Sodomy praftifed by ancient fefts, Bul- 
garians, 176; Cathari, 179; Knights 
Templars, 190 — 193. 

Solar fyrtem, 109. 

Sonnerat, account of Hindoo antiquities, 

48, 53- 
Sophocles, 36, 37, 38. 
Soul, ancient ideas of the emancipation 

of, from the body, 97 — 100. 
Sprenger (Jacob), work on witchcraft, 

Stedingers, alleged fecret rites of, and 

crufade againil, 183 — 185. 
Stonehenge, temple for worfliip of 

Apollo, 65. 
Strabo, 31, 33. 
Stubbes' (P.) defcription of May-day 

ceremonies, 162. 
Sun worfliip, 66, 77 — 82. 
Sweden, worfliip of the god Fricco, 126. 
Sylvanus, Pan fo called by the Latins, 

Symbols, explanation of the Priapic, 17; 
ancient fymbols, 20, et feq.\ 45 — 47, 
55, 67, etfeq.; fun worfliip, 78 — 82; 
87, 88, 89 ; on ftatue of Ifis, 96 ; 
butterfly, ancient fymbol of the foul, 

Syracufe, medal of, 55. 

Syftrum, myilic inllrument of the god- 
dels Ifis, 96. 

Temples for heathen worfliip, 63, etfeq. 

Templars, Knights, fecret pradices, trial 
and diflblution of their order, 150, 



169, 185, et feq.; identity of their 
proceedings with thofe of the witches' 
Sabbath, 246. 

Ters, i.e. Priapus, the patron faint of 
Antwerp, 144. 

Thebes, ancient temples at, 51. 

Theology, Ancient, attributes of a Di- 
vine Being, 24 — 26. 

Tiger attendant on Bacchus, 74. 

Toads attendant at witches' Sabbath, 
232, 236. 

Trajan's column, 51, 52. 

Typhon, the deftroying power, 68, 69. 

Urus, or wild bull, Greek fymbol of the 
Creator. 21. 

Vauderie, French praftice of witchcraft, 

Venus, 82 ; feilval of, 155. 

Virgil, defcription of the emanation of the 
pervading Spirit of God, 29, 72, 99. 

Vulcan, 57, 80. 

Waldenfes, origin of the feft, 178; their 
fecret rites, 179. 

Warburton (Bifhop), 2)Z- 

Water, worfhip of, 82, et feq. 

Witchcraft, the lall form of Priapic wor- 
fhip, 206, et feq.; fecret rites of the 
Vauderie, 208. 

Xanten, pottery with Priapic emblems 
found there. 122. 








PLATE y/i 


Fcg 1. 







n.ATi: XV 













'^V*. ^ -IS-.,-. 

_^ 'orupTi-al/ d& ce lyasreUef a/ etey ircnive dofi''^ 
Z'alle^on/'^ reprcisente l& Vazotour, oa?nme ly '&>■ 
la/ rfjAiue del ■oieecaf -^7rm& zm/p}uiZlu£, et ^ fe 
I 'ef'/oTzce. de, i adolescence, de l2/7?zaAcnie' d i 



•i}Z?QS -^ates a/ Nismee dccrui !■ 'anrve^ /SZS 

la/ rroai&Tude, cctu^oiU/ (/uatre ceu/S erv apparerux. 




I-ig I 






Fig 4-. 

Fig 2. 














lOM DE LANCRE, 1613 

BL820 .P75K6 

A discourse on the worship of Priapus, 

Princeton Theological Semmary-Speer Library 

1 1012 00162 6268